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BLM LIBRARY 



88064472 




RANGELAND REFORM '94 



Final Environmental Impact Statement 



PREPARED BY 

THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

IN COOPERATION WITH 

THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 
FOREST SERVICE 




THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR 



WASHINGTON 



Dear Reader: 

The final environmental impact statement (EIS) on Rangeland Reform '94 is presented for your 
information. This document incorporates by reference parts of the May 1994 draft EIS for Rangeland 
Reform '94. 

The final EIS, including the incorporated material, contains the following: 

* a statement of the purpose and the need for the action; 

* a description of the alternatives, including the preferred alternative; 

* a description of the affected environment; 

* an analysis of the environmental consequences; 

* an analysis of over 20,000 public comments on the draft EIS; and 

* other items required by the Council on Environmental Quality regulations. 

More than 14,000 copies of the draft EIS were distributed to federal agencies, state and local 
governments, congressional offices, livestock operators and companies, environmental organizations, 
and many individuals concerned about the outcome of the Rangeland Reform '94 process. 
Correspondence generated by the grazing town meetings, EIS scoping, and BLM and Forest Service 
advance notices of proposed rulemakings was used to develop the basic mailing list for the draft EIS. 
Copies of the draft EIS were and continue to be available for review and distribution in BLM's 
resource area offices and the Forest Service's National Forest supervisors' offices. Copies of the draft 
EIS may be obtained by contacting the BLM at (202) 452-7740. 

The comment analysis was conducted by teams of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management 
field personnel. Over 120 natural resource professionals from ten Western States were involved in 
this effort to ensure current "on the ground" analysis of the public comments received. The final EIS 
reflects this analysis. 

I am pleased with the public input on Rangeland Reform '94. The final product represents a 
collaborative effort among all of the stakeholders in the public's rangelands. 

Sincerely, 



CD- 



RANGELAND REFORM '94 



Final Environmental Impact Statement 



Prepared by 

The Department of the Interior 

Bureau of Land Management 

in cooperation with 

The Department of Agriculture 

Forest Service 




SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR 




Printed on Recycled Paper 
Containing at Least 50% Waste 



Environmental impact Statement 

Draft ( ) — Final (X) 

The United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with the cooperation of the 
United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 

1 . Type of Action: Administrative (X) Legislative ( ) 

2. Abstract: BLM and the Forest Service are proposing to change policies and regulations within their federal 
rangeland management programs. These actions are intended to improve and restore a significant portion 
of rangeland ecosystems and to improve and maintain biodiversity, while providing for sustainable 
development on lands administered by the two agencies. The two agencies also are proposing to revise the 
formula used to determine fees charged for grazing livestock on federal lands in the 17 western states. 

The Rangeland Reform '94 final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a national-level, programmatic 
EIS, prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The final EIS documents 
the ecological, economic, and social impacts that would result from alternative fee formulas and from 
reforming, or not reforming, other elements of the federal rangeland management program. Five 
management alternatives are considered in the final EIS: Current Management (No Action), BLM -Forest 
Service Preferred, Livestock Production, Environmental Enhancement, and No Grazing. Seven grazing fee 
formula alternatives also are analyzed: Current Public Rangeland Improvement Act (PRIA) (No Action), 
Modified PRIA, BLM-Forest Service Preferred, Regional Fees, Federal Forage Fee, PRIA with 
Surcharges, and Competitive Bidding. 

The BLM-Forest Service Preferred Alternative described in the final EIS is the BLM-Forest Service 
Proposed Action analyzed in the draft EIS (Alternative 2) with changes described in this document. The 
changes reflected in the Preferred Alternative are within the scope and analysis of the draft EIS, and do not 
alter the analysis of the environmental consequences. 

This document incorporates the draft EIS by reference, except as noted. The final EIS, including the 
incorporated material, contains the following: 

• a statement of the purpose and need for the action, 

• a description of alternatives, including the preferred, 

• a description of the affected environment, 

• an analysis of environmental consequences, 

• an analysis of over 20,000 public comments on the draft EIS, and 

• other items required by the Council on Environmental Quality regulations. 

3. For further information, contact: 



Mike Ferguson Jerry McCormick 

Bureau of Land Management Forest Service 

(202) 452-7740 (202) 205-1457 



Final Environmental Impact Statement 
Table of Contents 

Preface 1 

Chapter 1 : Purpose of and Need for the Preferred Alternative 3 

Purpose and Need 3 

Administrative Actions 6 

Chapter 2: BLM-Forest Service Preferred Alternative 7 

Introduction 7 

Management Alternatives 8 

Management Alternative 1 : Current Management (No Action) 8 

Management Alternative 2: Preferred 8 

Management Alternative 3: Livestock Production 9 

Management Alternative 4: Environmental Enhancement 9 

Management Alternative 5: No Grazing 9 

Preferred Alternative 12 

National Requirements and Standards and Guidelines for BLM 12 

Forest Service Framework for Rangeland Planning and Decisions 13 

Rangeland Program Administration 15 

Prohibited Acts 15 

Fee Alternatives 19 

Fee Alternative 1 : PRIA (No Action) 20 

Fee Alternative 2: Modified PRIA 20 

Fee Alternative 3: BLM-Forest Service Proposal (Preferred Alternative) 20 

Fee Alternative 4: Regional Fees 22 

Fee Alternative 5: Federal Forage Fee Formula 22 

Fee Alternative 6: PRIA with Surcharges . . . 22 

Fee Alternative 7: Competitive Bidding 22 

Alternatives Considered, but not Presented in Detail 22 

Relationship Between Alternatives 23 

Chapter 3: Affected Environment 25 

Rangelands 25 

Wildlife and Special Status Species 26 

Economic Conditions 26 

Chapter 4: Environmental Consequences 29 

Alternative 1 : Current Management 30 

Alternative 2: Preferred 31 

Alternative 3: Livestock Production 32 

Alternative 4: Environmental Enhancement 33 

Alternative 5: No Grazing 34 

Chapter 5: Consultation and Coordination 37 

Introduction 37 



Cooperating Agency 37 

Consultation 37 

Overview of Public Participation 38 

Additional Actions 40 

How Public Comments on the Draft EIS Were Processed 40 

Comments and Responses 48 

Process 48 

Standards and Guidelines 54 

Suitability 65 

Rangeland Health/Condition 68 

Vegetation Zones 77 

Ecosystem Management 78 

Special Status Species 83 

Wildlife/Wild Horses and Burros 86 

Associated Resources 92 

Riparian Health/Condition 93 

Fees 101 

Employment and Income Impacts Ill 

Local Communities 113 

Livestock Operations/Livestock Industry 116 

Permit Value 125 

Lending Institutions 127 

General Economics 130 

Social 131 

Water Rights 140 

Public Participation 141 

Appeals 143 

Permits and Leases 144 

Lease and Pasturing Agreements 145 

Authorizing Use 146 

Conservation Use 147 

Forest Service Planning 147 

Appendix F: Threatened, Endangered, and Proposed Species List 155 

Appendix T: Biological Opinion & Conference Report 165 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 11 



Preface 



introduction 



This is the Rangeland Reform '94 Final Environmen- 
tal Impact Statement (final EIS), developed by the 
U.S. Department of the Interior (USDI) and the 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with the 
cooperation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture 
(USD A) and the Forest Service. The Rangeland 
Reform '94 draft EIS was published and distributed 
in May 1994. 

The EIS describes the environmental impacts that 
would result from a number of proposed alternatives 
for managing BLM- and Forest Service-administered 
rangeland and for changing the fees charged to 
permittees and lessees. 

This EIS is written to evaluate a range of reasonable 
alternatives and to present the results of the environ- 
mental analysis in a form that best informs the public 
and serves the needs of the decision maker. 

The final EIS, including the incorporated material, 
was prepared in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). It is 
combined with and incorporates by reference the 
draft EIS, except as noted. The final EIS, including 
the incorporated material, contains the following: 

• a statement of the purpose and need for the 
action, 

• a description of alternatives, including the pre- 
ferred alternative, 

• a description of the affected environment, 

• an analysis of environmental consequences, 

• an analysis of over 20,000 public comments on 
the draft EIS, and 

• other items required by the Council on Environ- 
mental Quality regulations. 



The Preferred Alternative described in the final EIS 
is the BLM-Forest Service Proposed Action analyzed 
in the draft EIS with changes based on information 
and suggestions raised through public comment and 
internal review. The modifications included in the 
Preferred Alternative neither change the scope of the 
final EIS nor alter the analysis of environmental 
impacts. The final EIS is comprised of this document 
combined with the draft EIS which is incorporated by 
reference, in accordance with 40 CFR 1500. 4(j) and 
(o), 1502.21 and 1506.4. Changes to the text of the 
draft EIS are included in Chapter 5 of the final EIS. 
Thus, consistent with CEQ regulations on paperwork 
reduction, the draft EIS has not been reprinted, and 
it is necessary to use the draft EIS and this document 
together. 

More than 14,000 copies of the draft EIS were 
distributed to federal agencies, state and local gov- 
ernments, congressional offices, livestock operators 
and companies, environmental organizations, and 
many individuals concerned about the outcome of the 
Rangeland Reform '94 process. Correspondence 
generated by grazing town meetings, EIS scoping, 
and BLM and Forest Service advance notices of 
proposed rulemakings was used to develop the basic 
mailing list for the draft EIS. Copies of the draft EIS 
were and continue to be available for review and 
distribution in BLM's resource area offices and the 
Forest Service's National Forest supervisors' offices. 
Copies of the draft EIS may be obtained by contact- 
ing the BLM at (202) 452-7740. 

In order to implement Rangeland Reform '94, the 
BLM will issue one record of decision, and the 
Forest Service will issue two separate records of 
decision. The first Forest Service record of decision 
will contain the agency's new grazing fee rules, and 
will be issued concurrently with the BLM's record of 
decision. The second Forest Service record of deci- 
sion will contain the Forest Service rangeland man- 
agement rules and will be issued when those Forest 
Service regulations are finalized. 



Preface 



Differences Between the 
Draft and Final EIS 

The Preferred Alternative described in the final EIS 
is Management Alternative 2, BLM-Forest Service 
Proposed Action, as presented in the draft EIS with 
modifications, and Fee Alternative 3, BLM-Forest 
Service Proposed Action, also presented in the draft 
EIS. Modifications made to Management Alternative 
2 resulted from analysis of public comment and 
internal review. The changes reflected in the 
Preferred Alternative are within the scope and 
analysis of the draft EIS and do not alter the analysis 
of the environmental consequences. 

The Preferred Alternative described in the final EIS 
contains changes to the Proposed Action described in 
the draft EIS. They are as follows: 

Standards and Guidelines - BLM national require- 
ments, guiding principles, and standards and guide- 
lines would be modified to incorporate more fully a 
watershed management approach and current science, 
and to be more consistent with rangeland health 
goals. The standards and guidelines are intended to 
establish a direction toward restoration of rangeland 
health in areas where rangeland health has not yet 
been achieved. The standards and guidelines have 
also been reorganized and rewritten for clarity. 
These changes were made in response to internal 
review and public comment on the draft EIS and 
proposed rule. 

Leasing - The proposed BLM rule provided for the 
imposition of a surcharge on authorized base property 
leases and pasturing agreements, except with respect 
to children of the permittee or lessee. The Preferred 
Alternative would retain the exemption for children, 
would eliminate the surcharge on base property 



leases, and would modify the calculation of the 
surcharge authorized for pasturing agreements. 

Disqualification - The Forest Service and BLM 
would adopt the proposal for disqualification as set 
forth in the draft EIS with slight modifications with 
respect to Forest Service renewals, and consideration 
of past performance on grazing permits and leases by 
BLM. 

Permit Tenure - In limited situations, Forest Service 
grazing permits could be issued for less than 10 

years. 

Advisory Councils - The structure of BLM resource 
advisory councils would be more flexible than under 
the Proposed Action in the draft EIS. 

Forest Service Rangeland Project Decisions - Discus- 
sion of the proposed Forest Service rangeland project 
decision (RPD) process is expanded to clarify the 
link with NEPA and the role of the permittee and 
other interested parties in the planning process, and 
to explain why allotment management plans (AMPs) 
are being phased out. This discussion also explains 
that Forest Service grazing permits could be issued 
for less than ten years during the transition period to 
RPDs. The term of such permits could coincide with 
the priority scheduling of the NEPA analysis and 
RPD for each grazing allotment. The expansion and 
clarification of this section was in response to public 
comment that questioned the intent of the RPDs, the 
permittee and public involvement in the planning 
process, and the ability of the Forest Service to 
complete RPDs. 

Finally, Chapter 5 of this document contains changes 
to the text of the draft EIS made in response to 
public comments. These changes are incorporated 
into the final EIS. They do not alter the analysis of 
the environmental consequences. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 2 



Chapter 1 

Purpose of and Need for the 

Preferred Alternative 



Chapter 1 of the draft EIS for Rangeland Reform '94 
is incorporated by reference, in accordance with 40 
CFR 1500.4(j) and (o), 1502.21 and 1506.4 with 
changes set forth in Chapter 5 of this document. The 
incorporated material can be found at pages 5 
through 8 and 1-1 through 1-21 in the draft EIS and 
the content is briefly summarized below. 

Purpose and Need 

Rangeland Reform '94 is a proposal of the U.S. 
Department of the Interior (USDI) and the Bureau of 
Land Management (BLM), in cooperation with the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USD A) and the 
Forest Service. These agencies administer livestock 
grazing on 170 million acres and 100 million acres of 
federal rangelands respectively. The Preferred 
Alternative would involve policy and regulatory 
changes in BLM's and the Forest Service's rangeland 
management programs to improve ecological condi- 
tions while allowing sustainable development on 
lands administered by the two agencies. About 
27,000 permittees, mainly in 17 western states, use 
BLM and Forest Service-administered rangelands for 
livestock grazing. Roughly 20 percent of these 
permittees operate on both BLM- and Forest Service- 
administered rangelands. The EIS describes the 
physical, biological, social, and economic effects of 
the management and fee formula alternatives that the 
BLM and Forest Service have considered for range- 
land management. 

Rangeland Reform '94 addresses grazing fee issues 
for BLM- and Forest Service-managed rangelands in 
the following 17 western states: 



Oklahoma* 


Oregon 


South Dakota 


Texas* 


Utah 


Washington 


Wyoming 





Arizona 


California 


Colorado 


Idaho 


Kansas 


Montana 


Nebraska 


North Dakota 


Nevada 


New Mexico 



(* Except the National Forests therein) 

A major policy element of the reform package 
consists of national requirements and guiding princi- 
ples for the local development of state or regional 
standards and guidelines for livestock grazing on 
BLM-administered lands. Fallback standards and 
guidelines in the Preferred Alternative would take 
effect if regional standards and guidelines have not 
been developed within 18 months. 

National forest land and resource management plans 
have existing standards and guidelines for managing 
rangeland resources on Forest Service-administered 
lands. The Forest Service will continue to develop 
standards and guidelines at the forest plan level. 

The Preferred Alternative also would make regula- 
tory changes in the rangeland management programs 
of BLM and the Forest Service. In addition, the 
Preferred Alternative would change the formula used 
by BLM and the Forest Service for calculating fees 
for grazing on lands in the western states. A new fee 
would not apply to the eastern states because BLM 
does not manage rangelands in the East and grazing 
fees on National Forest System lands in the eastern 
states are currently based on either fair market value 
or competitive bidding (36 CFR 222.53 and 222.54). 
The analysis and decisions made on grazing fees 
would also not apply to any other federally adminis- 
tered grazing program, including that of the Fish and 
Wildlife Service, whose grazing fees are determined 
under the Refuge Administration Act and 50 CFR 
295. 



Chapter 1 - Purpose of and Need for the Proposed Action 



BLM's primary authority for managing the public 
lands, including rangelands, is found in Section 2 of 
the Taylor Grazing Act (TGA) of 1934, the Federal 
Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 
(FLPMA), and the Public Rangelands Improvement 
Act of 1978 (PRIA). Under these statutes, BLM is 
responsible for, among other things, managing 
resources on public lands in a manner that maintains 
or improves their condition. In the Taylor Grazing 
Act, Congress directed the Secretary of the Interior 
to regulate the occupancy and use of the range to 
preserve the land and its resources from destruction 
or unnecessary injury and to provide for the orderly 
use, improvement, and development of the range. 
FLPMA also provides the authority and direction for 
the multiple use and sustained yield of public lands. 
BLM planning regulations prescribed in FLPMA are 
set forth in 43 CFR 1600. Each resource manage- 
ment plan and its associated EIS provide direction for 
overall management of lands and minerals in a given 
administrative area. 

The Forest Service's primary authority for managing 
National Forest System land is found in the Organic 
Administration Act of 1897, Bankhead- Jones Farm 
Tenant Act of 1937, Granger-Thye Act of 1950, 
Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act of 1960, National 
Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA), FLPMA, 
and PRIA. Authority for developing comprehensive 
management plans for National Forest System lands 
is the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources 
Planning Act of 1974 as amended by NFMA. NFMA 
also gives the Forest Service authority and direction 
to provide for the multiple use and sustained yield of 
products and services from the National Forest 
System. Forest Service planning regulations are 
found in 36 CFR 219. These regulations provide for 
developing forest land and resource management 
plans (forest plans), which define overall manage- 
ment direction, including standards and guidelines for 
managing National Forest System resources. 



Accelerate restoration and improvement of public 
rangelands to proper functioning condition. 

Obtain for the public a fair return for grazing 
livestock on public lands. 

Streamline administrative functions. 

Consider the needs of local communities for open 
space and their dependence on livestock grazing. 

Public rangelands are important resources, particu- 
larly for the people of the western United States. 
Livestock grazing has been an integral part of the 
western landscape and lifestyle since the late 1800s. 
The livestock industry historically has played a major 
role in the economy of the West. BLM and the 
Forest Service are challenged with providing a stable 
resource base and a reasonable return for grazing 
livestock on federal lands, while recognizing the 
growing social and economic importance of other 
resources to local communities. 

Much controversy surrounds the interpretation of the 
true condition of the public rangelands. Some say the 
public rangelands are in better condition today than 
at any point during this century. Others say the 
public rangelands are in unsatisfactory condition 
citing widespread invasion of exotic plants and the 
degraded conditions in many riparian-wetland areas. 

At the time it enacted the Public Rangelands Im- 
provement Act of 1978 (PRIA), Congress concluded 
the following as evidenced in the findings of the Act: 

Rangelands were still producing below their 
potential. 

Rangelands would remain in unsatisfactory 
condition or decline even further under then 
current levels of funding and management. 



The purpose and intent of the Preferred Alternative 
is to: 

Make the Forest Service's and BLM's rangeland 
management programs more consistent with each 
other, and more compatible with ecosystem 
management. 



The unsatisfactory condition of public rangelands 
presented a high risk for soil loss, siltation, 
desertification, water loss, loss of wildlife and 
fish habitats, loss of forage for livestock and 
other grazing animals, degradation of water 
quality, flood danger, and threats to local econo- 
mies. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 4 



Some things have changed since the passage of 
PRIA. The ecological condition on most uplands has 
improved; however, many riparian areas continue to 
be degraded and are not functioning properly. 

Many of the current grazing regulations no longer 
lead to efficient program administration or are 
applied inconsistently in different areas. In addition, 
BLM and Forest Service regulations differ in several 
respects. Since many ranchers graze livestock on 
rangelands administered by both agencies, these 
differences sometimes create confusion. 

Over time, the costs of administering the grazing 
program have risen. While budgets also rose once 
Congress recognized the need for rangeland manage- 
ment, grazing fees have changed little in recent 
years. The increased costs of administering the 
livestock grazing program are approximately double 
the revenue generated through grazing fees. This 
added cost of administering the grazing program is 
borne mostly by the American public. 

For decades, the federal government has studied 
aspects of livestock grazing on public lands. The 
U.S. General Accounting Office and the Department 
of the Interior, Office of Inspector General audited 
selected features of BLM public rangeland programs 
(USDI OIG 1992; GAO 1988a, 1988b, 1990, 1991a, 
1991b, 1991c, 1992). The audits found several BLM 
administrative and policy issues that needed attention, 
including the following: 

The unauthorized practice of permittees leasing 
(rather than using) their federal permits for fees 
much higher than the federal grazing fee and 
making a profit; 

The need for procedures to allow prompt correc- 
tion of rangeland abuse; 

The questions about BLM methods for protecting 
the Nation's fragile hot deserts; 

The question of whether it is proper to spend 
Range Betterment Funds on repairing watersheds, 
stabilizing soil, and rehabilitating vegetation; 

The advantage of implementing an ecosystem 
approach to rangeland management; and 



The value of a fair return to the federal govern- 
ment from grazing fees. 

In 1987, the Forest Service reviewed its existing 
regulations and found parts that needed to be revised 
and clarified. Other parts were outdated and needed 
to be removed. On August 16, 1988, the Forest 
Service published a proposed rule responding to the 
findings of the review (53 FR 30954). That proposed 
rule was not finalized, but this EIS considers the 
main features of and comments received on that 
proposed rule. 

In 1991, the BLM Director asked the agency's 
National Public Lands Advisory Council to recom- 
mend ways to improve BLM's rangeland manage- 
ment program. The council chartered a blue ribbon 
panel of professional ecologists and rangeland man- 
agers. Producing the report Rangeland - Program 
Initiatives and Strategies (Sharpe and others 1992), 
the panel concluded that BLM's main objective 
should be to protect the basic components of range- 
lands— soil, water, and vegetation— and that goals to 
achieve this objective should be based on modem 
ecological concepts. 

In the fall of 1992, several conservation organizations 
requested that the Secretary of the Interior require 
BLM to improve its grazing administration by 
encouraging stewardship and designing ways to 
quickly improve the environment. 

BLM organized an Incentive Based Grazing Fee Task 
Force in 1992 to consider ways to set an equitable 
fee for federal forage and to examine the feasibility 
of using fee credits to encourage public land steward- 
ship. The Incentive-Based Grazing Fee System report 
was published in August 1993, and many of its 
suggestions were incorporated into the Rangeland 
Reform '94 proposal. Also in June 1993, the Western 
Governors' Association drafted a resolution on 
grazing fees, reiterating that a healthy livestock 
industry is essential to the western states and ac- 
knowledging that the current grazing fee formula 
results in a fee, and subsequently revenue, that does 
not reflect the value of the forage. The resolution 
called for a fee structure that is predictable, affords 
stability to permittees, and is linked to credits for 
land stewardship. 



Chapter 1 - Purpose of and Need for the Proposed Action 



The National Research Council published a report in 
January 1994 entitled Rangeland Health: New Meth- 
ods to Classify, Inventory, and Monitor Rangelands. 
BLM and Forest Service thoroughly reviewed the 
report and considered its information in formulating 
the final EIS. Some of the information in the report 
was used to develop the direction for the BLM 
national requirements and standards and guidelines as 
described in Chapter 2. 

Administrative Actions 

The Rangeland Reform '94 EIS analyzes separate 
regulations proposed by BLM and the Forest Service. 
An EIS is not itself a decision document; rather it is 
a document to assist the decision maker by disclosing 
the environmental consequences of implementing a 
proposed action or its alternatives. Modifications in 
the final regulations may be made during the admin- 
istrative decision making process as a result of the 
consideration of the EIS and public comments on the 
proposed rule. 

After the 30-day availability period for the public to 
review the final EIS, the Secretaries of Agriculture 
and the Interior plan to make separate decisions 
regarding adoption of Rangeland Reform '94. The 
Secretaries will issue separate records of decision 



because the agencies operate under different authori- 
ties. Final regulations will be published by each 
Secretary in conjunction with the issuance of their 
respective records of decision. The BLM record of 
decision will address the BLM management practices 
and grazing fee structure. One Forest Service record 
of decision will address the grazing fee structure the 
agency will adopt. A second record of decision will 
address Forest Service grazing use management. 

The BLM and the Forest Service began the 
rulemaking process for grazing administration regula- 
tions in July 1993 and published separate Advance 
Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRs). More 
than 8,000 comment letters on the ANPRs were 
received between July 13 and October 20, 1993. 

Public comment was requested in the proposed rules 
published in the Federal Register on March 25, 1994, 
for the BLM and on April 28, 1994, for the Forest 
Service, and the notice of availability for the draft 
EIS on May 13, 1994. More than 29,000 comments 
were received. The final rules issued by the Secretar- 
ies of the Interior and Agriculture may reflect modifi- 
cations made during the administrative decision 
making process as a result of public comment and 
consideration of the final EIS. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 6 



Chapter 2 
BLM-Forest Service 



Chapter 2 of the draft EIS for Rangeland Reform '94 
is incorporated by reference, in accordance with 40 
CFR 1500.4Q) and (o), 1502.21 and 1506.4. The 
incorporated material can be found on pages 9 
through 21 and 2-1 through 2-63 of the draft EIS and 
its content is briefly summarized below. The appen- 
dixes A through S, pages A-l through S-6, are 
incorporated by reference. However, those pages in 
the Executive Summary and Chapter 2 of the draft 
EIS related to the Proposed Action are superseded and 
updated by the discussion of the BLM - Forest Ser- 
vice Preferred Alternative contained in this chapter. 

introduction 

This chapter provides a description of the five 
management alternatives, seven fee alternatives and 
combinations of these alternatives. In accordance 
with the requirement that an EIS focus on significant 
environmental issues (40 CFR 1502.1), this chapter 
focuses on those actions that would cause or contrib- 
ute to significant environmental impacts, based on the 
analysis in Chapter 4 of the draft and final EISs. In 
addition, this chapter discusses alternatives considered 
but not presented in detail as well as a brief discussion 
on implementation. 

A comparison of the alternatives considered in the 
final EIS is contained in tables 2-1 (management 
alternatives) and 2-2 (fee alternatives). In Chapter 4, 
each of the five management alternatives is combined 
with each of the seven fees, and the cumulative 
impacts are analyzed. Chapter 4 also includes an 
extensive analysis of a high, moderate, and low fee 
combined with each of the management alternatives. 

The BLM and Forest Service Preferred Alternative is 
Management Alternative 2 which appeared in the 
draft EIS as the Proposed Action, but with changes 
reflected in the final EIS, and Fee Alternative 3 which 
appeared in the draft EIS as the Proposed Action. 
The changes reflected in the Preferred Alternative are 
within the scope and analysis of the draft EIS, and do 



not alter the analysis of the environmental conse- 
quences. 

The Preferred Alternative contains changes to the 
Proposed Action described in the draft EIS, as fol- 
lows: 

Standards and Guidelines - BLM national require- 
ments, guiding principles, and standards and guide- 
lines would be modified to incorporate more fully a 
watershed management approach and current science, 
and to be more consistent with rangeland health goals. 
The standards and guidelines are intended to establish 
a direction toward restoration of rangeland health in 
areas where rangeland health has not yet been 
achieved. These changes were made in response to 
internal review and public comment on the draft EIS. 
The standards and guidelines also have been reorga- 
nized and rewritten for clarity. 

Leasing - The proposed BLM rule provided for the 
imposition of a surcharge on authorized base property 
leases and pasturing agreements, except with respect 
to children of the permittee or lessee. The Preferred 
Alternative would retain the exemption for children, 
would eliminate the surcharge on base property 
leases, and would modify the calculation of the 
surcharge authorized for pasturing agreements. 

Disqualification - The Forest Service and BLM would 
adopt the proposal for disqualification as set forth in 
the draft EIS with slight modifications with respect to 
Forest Service renewals, and consideration of past 
performance on grazing permits and leases by BLM. 
The Preferred Alternative would limit the provision 
for disqualification on the basis of cancellation of 
grazing permits during the preceding 36 months to 
applications for new or additional permits and leases. 
Also, consideration of an applicant's history of 
compliance with the terms and conditions of state 
permits and leases has been limited to state permits 
and leases within the boundary of the BLM grazing 
allotment for which the application has been made. 



Chapter 2 - Description of Alternatives 



Permit Tenure - In limited situations, Forest Service 
grazing permits could be issued for less than 10 years. 

Advisory Councils - The structure of BLM resource 
advisory councils would be more flexible than under 
the proposal in the draft EIS. 

Forest Service Rangekmd Project Decisions - Discus- 
sion of the proposed Forest Service rangeland project 
decision (RPD) process is expanded to clarify the link 
with NEPA and the role of the permittee and other 
interested parties in the planning process, and to 
explain why allotment management plans (AMPs) are 
being phased out. This discussion also explains that 
Forest Service grazing permits could be issued for 
less than ten years during the transition period to 
RPDs. The term of such permits could coincide with 
the priority scheduling of the NEPA analysis and 
RPD for each grazing allotment. The expansion and 
clarification of this section was in response to public 
comment that questioned the intent of the RPDs, the 
permittee and public involvement in the planning 
process, and the ability of the Forest Service to 
complete RPDs. 

The Preferred Alternative presented in the final EIS 
reflects modifications to the original proposed action 
based on public comment and agency review. It 
should be noted that the final regulations may contain 
some modifications made as a result of public com- 
ment and further consideration of the alternatives 
during the administrative decision making process. 
Any changes would be reflected in the final rules and 
records of decision. 

Management Alternatives 

Five management alternatives are analyzed in this 
final EIS. 

(1) Current Management (No Action) 

(2) BLM-Forest Service Preferred Alternative 

(3) Livestock Production (Increase livestock opera- 
tor influence or control.) 

(4) Environmental Enhancement (Authorize live- 
stock grazing only where it can be demonstrated 
that livestock grazing would not cause unaccept- 
able conflicts with other resources). 

(5) No Grazing 



Management Alternative 1: 
Current Management (No 
Action) 

Under Alternative 1, BLM and the Forest Service 
would not revise existing policies, regulations, and 
management practices. This alternative is discussed 
in detail on pages 2-2 through 2-7 of the draft EIS. 
BLM, under current management, has no comprehen- 
sive guidelines for ecosystem health. The Forest 
Service has national rangeland management policy 
and objectives and establishes standards and guide- 
lines for rangeland management in national forest land 
and resource management plans. The objectives of 
the regulations that direct BLM and the Forest Service 
in administering their rangeland programs are to 
protect rangeland resources, to allow for the orderly 
use of rangeland, and to enable improvement of the 
federal lands. Current management does not meet the 
purpose and need described in Chapter 1 of the draft 
and final EIS. 

Management Alternative 2: 
Preferred 

Alternative 2 responds to the purpose and need 
described in Chapter 1 by changing many elements of 
the agencies' current rangeland policies, regulations, 
and management practices (Table 2-1 summarizes key 
elements of this alternative). The Preferred Alterna- 
tive is described in detail on pages 2-8 through 2-18 
in the draft EIS with changes described in this 
document (See further discussion in this Chapter, 
infra). The changes reflected in the Preferred 
Alternative are within the scope and analysis of the 
draft EIS, and do not alter the analysis of the environ- 
mental consequences. 

The Preferred Alternative includes national require- 
ments and guiding principles that provide the basis for 
developing state or regional standards and guidelines 
for managing livestock grazing in rangeland ecosys- 
tems administered by BLM. It includes proposed 
Forest Service measures for planning rangeland 
activities and for regulating grazing use within an 
ecosystem management framework. The Preferred 
Alternative would also establish more consistent BLM 
and Forest Service management programs to improve 
ecological conditions while maintaining opportunities 
for long-term sustainable development. The proposed 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 8 



fee formula would obtain for the public a fair return 
for grazing livestock on public land. 

Management Alternative 3: 
Livestock Production 

The Livestock Production alternative would place 
more control of rangeland management in local 
communities. BLM and Forest Service would con- 
tinue to fulfill their responsibilities under laws and 
regulations. This alternative is described in detail on 
pages 2-18 through 2-22 of the draft EIS. A goal of 
this alternative would be to meet interdisciplinary 
resource objectives through increased cooperation and 
shared responsibility for good stewardship among 
BLM, the Forest Service, and the livestock industry. 
Local community involvement in grazing advisory 
boards would play a lead role in making decisions 
about public rangeland management planning, imple- 
mentation, and evaluation. 

Regulation changes would make BLM and Forest 
Service program administration more efficient and 
consistent. These changes in regulations or policies 
would improve the agencies' abilities to manage 
federal land. 

Management Alternative 4: 

Environmental 

Enhancement 

The Environmental Enhancement alternative would 
shift the philosophical basis for livestock grazing from 
"livestock grazing would continue unless problems 
are documented through monitoring" to "livestock 
grazing would be authorized only where enough data 
shows resource condition standards and goals are 
being met. " This alternative is described in detail on 
pages 2-22 through 2-28 of the draft EIS. This 
alternative would focus on authorizing grazing where 
it is most acceptable in light of other resources and 
uses. 

Some areas would be closed to grazing, such as 
wilderness, critical habitat for threatened and endan- 
gered species, developed recreation sites, and areas 
where rangeland health is unacceptable. Grazing 
might, however, be allowed on areas where rangeland 
health was formerly unacceptable when conditions 
improve and the intensity of proposed management 
would ensure that grazing would not degrade range- 



land health. This alternative might require amending 
existing legislation, such as the Wilderness Act of 
1964, which allows livestock grazing in wilderness. 
Following improvement in rangeland health, livestock 
grazing might be allowed to resume. 

Management Alternative 5: 
No Crazing 

Under the No Grazing Alternative, all grazing 
privileges would be canceled, and all livestock would 
be removed from public lands over a 3 -year phase-out 
period. This alternative is described in detail on 
pages 2-28 through 2-31 of the draft EIS. Public 
lands would be managed for values other than live- 
stock grazing. No new range improvement projects 
would be built to benefit livestock, and existing range 
improvements and land treatments would be main- 
tained only if considered beneficial to other uses. 
Any structures considered harmful to other resource 
uses would be removed, and permittees with invest- 
ments in cooperative range projects would be entitled 
to salvage rights. Livestock operators using land 
adjoining federal lands would be responsible for 
preventing the unauthorized use of these federal 
lands. The agencies would not pay any costs for 
needed fencing. Range administration would concen- 
trate on issuing crossing permits to or from nonfed- 
eral land inholdings and resolving unauthorized 
livestock use. None of the other livestock grazing 
management measures considered in the other four 
alternatives would be needed. 

Under No Grazing, BLM and the Forest Service 
could use livestock to manage vegetation to achieve 
resource objectives. For example, sheep and goats 
might be used to control such noxious weeds as leafy 
spurge, or livestock might be used to stimulate the 
growth or sprouting of browse to improve forage for 
deer. Operations using such control methods would 
not gain grazing preferences or term permit status. 

Livestock use would be permitted in a variety of 
ways, including the issuance of temporary permits or 
contracts that spell out the conditions of the permit. 
Fees might or might not be charged, depending on the 
objectives. In some cases, the agencies would pay the 
livestock owner for the services received. 

BLM and the Forest Service would both continue 
developing policies but not regulations on ecosystem 
management specifically for rangeland ecosystems. 



Chapter 2 - Description of Alternatives 



These policies would establish procedures for how 
and where livestock might be used as management 



tools to help achieve landscape or ecosystem objec- 
tives. 



Table 2-1 : DESCRIPTION OF THE MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVES 



- '.'■■■:■ - v ■:-. 




::::.■::: :'- : 


■; 


"■"■""■::;■■:::■:■::■:■■■■■ 


nocrazingI 


ELEMENTS 






LIVESTOCK 


ENVIRONMENTAL 








PRODUCTION 


ENHANCEMENT 


-■:■:::■,:':::—•-•:•:-:-:; ^^: . 

-:-v ■:■:-.-....■ 


STANDARDS AND 


BLM-No 


BLM-Yes 


BLM-Yes 


BLM-Yes (National) 


BLM-No 


GUIDELINES 


FS-Yes (In forest 


FS-Yes (In forest 


FS-Yes (In for- 


FS-Yes (National) 


FS-Yes (In for- 




plans) 


plans) 


est plans) 




est plans) 


LEASING 


BLM-Own or 


BLM-Own or 


BLM-Own or 


BLM-Requires own- 


N.A. 




control 


control; pasturing 


control 


ership 






FS-Prohibited 


surcharges (ex- 
cept for children) 
FS-Prohibited 


FS-Same as 
BLM 


FS-Prohibited 




FOREIGN 


BLM-U.S. citizen 


BLM-U.S. citizen 


BLM-U.S. citi- 


BLM-U.S. citizen or 


N.A. 


CORPORATIONS 


or licensed to 


or licensed to 


zenship 


licensed to conduct 






conduct business 


conduct business 


required 


business in state 






in state 


in state 


FS-Same as 


FS-Same as BLM 






FS-U.S. citizen 


FS-Same as BLM 


BLM 








or corp. 80% 












owned by U.S. 












citizens 










DISQUALIFICATION 


BLM-None 


BLM-Consider 


BLM-Grazing 


BLM-In addition to 


N.A. 




FS-None 


applicant's record 


advisory board 


Preferred Alternative, 








over last 3 yrs. 


determines 


all permits canceled 








FS-Disqualified if 


FS-Same as 


FS-Same as BLM 








any permit can- 


BLM 










celed for permit 












violation within 












last 3 yrs. 








PROHIBITED ACTS 


BLM-Bald Eagle 


BLM-Broad 


BLM-Bald Ea- 


BLM-Broad range of 


N.A. 




Protect. Act and 


range of condi- 


gle Protect. Act 


conditions 






ESA violations 


tions 


and ESA viola- 


FS-Broad range of 






FS-Broad range 


FS-Broad range 


tions 


conditions 






of conditions 


of conditions 


FS-Broad range 
of conditions 






GRANT POLICY 


BLM- Prioritized; 


BLM-Adds per- 


BLM-Perfor- 


BLM-No allocations 


N.A. 




no performance 


formance criteria 


mance criteria 


of more forage 






criteria 


FS-Same as BLM 


first priority 


FS-No allocations of 






FS-Some criteria 




FS-Same as 


more forage 






applied 




BLM 






PERMIT TENURE 


BLM-Normally 


BLM-Normally 


BLM- 10 yrs. 


BLM- 10 yrs. to 


BLM-Tempo- 




lOyrs. 


10 yrs. 


min.; up to 20 


permittees who meet 


rary: up to 1 




FS-Normally 10 


FS-Normally 10 


yrs. good stew- 


criteria 


y. 




yrs. 


yrs; may be less 


ardship 


FS-Same as BLM 


FS-Same as 






than 10 yrs. in 


FS-Same as 




BLM 






limited situations 


BLM 







Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 10 



Table 2-1: DESCRIPTION OF THE MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVES 





CURRENT 


PREFERRED 


livestock: 


ENVIRONMI-N 1AI. 


NO GRAZING 




MANAGEMENT 




PRODUCTION 


ENHANCEMENT 




UNAUTHORIZED USE 


BLM-Three- 


BLM-Three- 


BLM-One fee; 


BLM-Three-tiered fee 


BLM-Three- 




tiered fee for- 


tiered fee for- 


nonmonetary 


formula; nonmone- 


tiered fee for- 




mula; no inciden- 


mula; nonmone- 


settlement 


tary settlement 


mula; nonmon- 




tal use 


tary settlement 


FS-Same as 


FS-Same as BLM 


etary settlement 




FS-Two types, 


FS-Same as BLM 


BLM 




FS-Same as 




one charge; inci- 








BLM 




dental use 










NONUSE AND 


BLM-Year-to- 


BLM-Up to 


BLM-Up to 


BLM- Automatic, up 


N.A. 


CONSERVATION USE 


year, or for 2 yrs. 


3 yrs. personal; 


5 yrs. personal; 


to 10 yrs. nonuse 






after decision 


up to 10 yrs. re- 


yr. to yr. re- 


FS-Same as BLM 






FS-Up to 


source protection 


source protec- 








3 consecutive yrs. 


FS-Up to 


tion 








personal; up to 


3 consecutive yrs. 


FS-Same as 








term of permit 


personal; up to 10 


BLM 








for resource pro- 


yrs. resource pro- 










tection 


tection 








SUSPENDED NONUSE 


BLM-Carry on 


BLM- Carry on 


BLM-Carry on 


BLM-Eliminate 


NA. 




permit 


permit 


permit 


FS-None 






FS-None 


FS-None 


FS-None 






WATER RIGHTS 


BLM-Mixed 


BLM-Federal 


BLM-Mixed 


BLM-Same as Pre- 


N.A. 




ownership, sub- 


ownership of new 


ownership 


ferred Alternative 






ject to state law 


water rights, sub- 


FS-Same as 


FS-Same as Preferred 






FS-Federal own- 


ject to state law 


BLM 


Alternative 






ership, subject to 


FS-Federal own- 










state law 


ership, subject to 
state law 








RANGE 


BLM-Mixed 


BLM-Federal 


BLM-Federal 


BLM-Federal 


BLM-Federal 


IMPROVEMENT 


FS-Federal 


FS-Federal 


FS-Federal 


FS-Federal 


FS-Federal 


OWNERSHIP 












RANGE BETTERMENT 


BLM- 1/2 district 


BLM- 1/2 district 


BLM & FS-AU 


BLM- 1/2 district of 


BLM-No range 


FUND DISTRIBUTION 


of origin, 1/2 


of origin, 1/2 


to BLM district 


origin, 1/2 state di- 


betterment fund 




priority basis 


priority basis 


or Forest of ori- 


rector discretion 


FS-No range 




FS-1/2 forest of 


FS-1/2 forest of 


gin 


FS-1/2 forest of ori- 


betterment fund 




origin, 1/2 re- 


origin, 1/2 re- 




gin, 1/2 regional for- 






gional forester 


gional forester 




ester discretion 






discretion 


discretion 








RANGE BETTERMENT 


BLM-Engineer & 


BLM-Plan, engi- 


BLM-Engineer 


BLM-Plan, engineer, 


N.A. 


FUND USE 


build 


neer, build, env. 


& build 


build, & env. assess; 






FS-Plan & build 


assess., monitor 
FS-Same as BLM 


FS-Plan & build 


monitor 
FS-Same as BLM 





11 



Chapter 2 - Description of Alternatives 



Table 2-1: DESCRIPTION OF THE MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVES 



ELEMENTS 




PREFERRED 


LIVESTOCK 


ENVIRONMENTAL 


NO GRAZING 




MANAGEMENT 




PRODUCTION 


ENHANCEMENT 




APPEALS 


BLM- Automatic 


BLM-No auto- 


BLM-Automatic 


BLM-No automatic 


N.A. 




stay upon appeal; 


matic stay upon 


stay upon ap- 


stay upon appeal 






full force & effect 


appeal 


peal; full force 


FS-No auto, stay 






for resource pro- 


FS-No automatic 


& effect for re- 


upon appeal for per- 






tection 


stay upon appeal 


source protec- 


mit admin, decisions 






FS-No automatic 


for permit admin. 


tion 








stay upon appeal 


decisions 


FS-No auto- 








for permit admin. 




matic stay upon 








decisions 




appeal for per- 
mit admin, deci- 
sions 






ADVISORY COUNCILS 


BLM-Yes 


BLM-Replace 


BLM-Yes 


BLM-Replace with 


N.A. 






with resource 


(allow for graz- 


joint resource advi- 






FS-No 


advisory councils 


ing assoc.) 


sory councils 








FS-No. Sec. of 


FS-Same as 


FS-Same as BLM 








Ag. can establish 


BLM 










multi-interest 












boards 








SUITABILITY 


BLM-NA. 


BLM-NA. 


BLM-NA. 


BLM-Sensitive areas 


N.A. 




FS-Defined in 


FS-Defined in 


FS-Defined in 


unsuitable 






Forest Plans 


Forest Plans 


Forest Plans 


FS-Same as BLM 




SERVICE CHARGE 


BLM-Charges to 


BLM-Charges to 


BLM-None 


BLM-Charges to 


BLM-Charges 




cover processing 


cover processing 


FS-None 


cover processing 


to cover trail- 




FS-Fee for split 


FS-Charges to 




FS-Same as BLM 


ing permits 




billing 


cover permittee- 
initiated process- 
ing 






FS-Szme as 
BLM 


RANGELAND 


BLM-No regs. 


BLM-Regs.; pol- 


BLM-Consult 


BLM-A11 uses man- 


BLM-No regs. 


ECOSYSTEMS 


FS-No regs. 


icy implemented 


with grazing 


aged to sustain eco- 


FS-No regs. 






thru nat'l require- 


advisory boards 


systems 








ments & regional 


FS-Same as 


FS-Same as BLM 








stds. and guide- 


BLM 










lines 












FS-Regs. Imple- 












mented through 












forest plan stds. 












& guidelines. 









Preferred Alternative For 
Management 

National Requirements 
and Standards and 
Guidelines for BLM 

Under the Preferred Alternative, BLM would adopt 
and implement national requirements for public 
rangelands and would develop state or regional 



standards and guidelines to ensure that livestock 
grazing management is conducted in accordance 
with proven principles already being successfully 
applied in rangeland ecosystems. National require- 
ments and standards and guidelines would be aimed 
at maintaining already healthy rangeland ecosystems 
and establishing a trend leading to the restoration of 
ecosystem health in those areas that are non-func- 
tioning or functioning at risk. Management prac- 
tices that diminish ecosystem health would be 
modified or eliminated, and activities promoting 
ecosystem health would be implemented. Informa- 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 12 



tion in Rangeland Health: New Methods to Clas- 
sify, Inventory, and Monitor Rangelands (National 
Research Council 1994) was considered in prepar- 
ing the proposed direction for developing state or 
regional standards and guidelines. 

The guiding principles for the standards and guide- 
lines and the fallback standards and guidelines 
contained in the Proposed Action in the draft EIS 
have been modified and superseded by the Preferred 
Alternative. The guiding principles for the stan- 
dards and guidelines and fallback standards and 
guidelines presented in the proposed rule have been 
modified to incorporate more fully a watershed 
management approach and current science and to 
improve the agency's ability to aid in the restoration 
and maintenance of properly functioning rangeland 
ecosystems. They have also been reorganized and 
rewritten for clarity. Appendix T, the Biological 
Opinion and Conference Report, includes an up- 
dated version of these standards and guidelines at 
pages 2 through 9. Any further refinements will be 
recorded in the record of decision as a part of the 
administrative decision making process. 

Some standards and guidelines would be imple- 
mented through design and contract specifications 
for range improvements. Others would be imple- 
mented through terms and conditions attached to 
grazing permits and related authorizations for the 
next grazing year. Failure to comply with such 
terms and conditions would result in appropriate 
administrative action with respect to the permit; 
modification of grazing systems, stocking levels, or 
seasons of use; or other changes. 

BLM has two levels of planning decisions below the 
policy tier described in Rangeland Reform '94. 
Decisions made in Resource Management Plans 
(RMPs) and Management Framework Plans (MFPs) 
provide general planning guidance for resource use 
and allocation. Activity plans are site-specific plans 
that identify resource objectives and management 
actions to meet RMP objectives. RMPs and site- 
specific actions or projects are subject to appropri- 
ate levels of environmental analysis and public 
involvement required by NEPA. 

State or regional standards and guidelines would be 
prepared to ensure livestock grazing management is 
sensitive to the resources of specific ecoregions. 
These state or regional standards and guidelines 
would be incorporated into BLM resource manage- 



ment plans following completion of NEPA analyses 
and documentation. 

No state or regional standards or guidelines pro- 
posed by the BLM state director would be imple- 
mented prior to their approval by the Secretary. 

In the event that state or regional standards and 
guidelines are not completed within 18 months, 
fallback standards and guidelines would be imple- 
mented. 

Standards and guidelines for grazing administration 
would be incorporated into the grazing-related 
portions of activity plans, and would be reflected in 
the terms and conditions of permits and leases and 
grazing authorizations. In areas where existing 
grazing management fails to attain the conditions 
specified in the standards and guidelines, the autho- 
rized officer would take appropriate action pursuant 
to 43 CFR 4100 no later than the start of the next 
grazing year to begin the process of restoring 
rangeland health. 

All existing or ongoing grazing-related plans and 
actions would be reviewed for compliance with 
national requirements, standards and guidelines. 
BLM intends that the review would be accomplished 
within three years after the effective date of the rule 
through the use of assessments for functioning 
condition and biological health of rangelands. 
Criteria to prioritize the order in which the areas 
would be assessed would be set by the state direc- 
tors in consultation with resource advisory councils, 
Indian tribes, other agencies responsible for the land 
and resources of the area, and the interested public. 
If the assessments showed that the rangelands were 
not healthy, the authorized officer would take 
appropriate action not later than the start of the next 
grazing year to begin the process of restoring 
rangeland health. Deviation from the three-year 
assessment period would have to be approved by the 
Secretary. 

Forest Service Framework 
for Rangeland Planning 
and Decisions 

Forest Service national policy and objectives for 
managing the rangeland resource are set forth in 
Forest Service manuals covering such programs as 



13 



Chapter 2 - Description of Alternatives 



range, wildlife and fisheries, and watershed man- 
agement. These policies and objectives are summa- 
rized in Appendix A of the draft EIS, Forest Service 
National Policy and Objectives for Managing 
Rangeland Resources. 

The Forest Service has a two-tier planning process. 
The first tier is the land and resource management 
plan (forest plan); the second tier is the site-specific 
project planning level. Each National Forest and 
Grassland formulates rangeland management goals, 
objectives, standards, and guidelines in their forest 
plans, including identification of lands suitable for 
livestock grazing. Although the forest plan identi- 
fies lands suitable for livestock grazing, it does not 
authorize grazing. The programmatic management 
direction in the forest plan is carried out through 
site-specific project planning and implementation. 
The site-specific project decisions may include 
authorization for grazing use. Site-specific planning 
is done with the full participation of the public; 
permittees; and county, state, and other federal 
agencies. 

Under the Preferred Alternative, rangeland project 
decisions (RPDs) on Forest Service-administered 
lands are made at the second tier of planning and 
are decision points based on planning and disclosure 
of environmental effects through the NEPA process 
for site-specific rangeland management activities. 
Rangeland project decisions authorizing livestock 
grazing would typically be made through analysis 
conducted at the landscape or watershed level. This 
process would allow any cumulative effects of 
management decisions to be evaluated fully, rather 
than to focus solely on individual grazing allotments 
as was historically done through allotment manage- 
ment plans (AMPs). Rangeland project decisions 
include activities such as maintenance or modifica- 
tion of plant communities or other resources, 
rangeland improvements, and authorization of 
livestock grazing. When a RPD authorizes live- 
stock grazing, issuing a grazing permit is an admin- 
istrative act and is not subject to an additional 
NEPA analysis. 

When a grazing permit is issued by the Forest 
Service, management requirements from the RPD 
would be included as terms and conditions of the 
grazing permit. Failure to comply with these terms 
and conditions could result in administrative action, 
to include suspension, modification, or cancellation 
of the permit. Currently, the NEPA decision is 



made in conjunction with the allotment management 
plan (AMP) and then the AMP is made a term and 
condition of the grazing permit. Under the Pre- 
ferred Alternative, AMP preparation is eliminated 
as an unnecessary step in the process. This new 
procedure does not eliminate or limit the permittee's 
involvement in developing a rangeland management 
strategy. The Forest Service would still consult 
with the permittee and other interested parties. 

While the Forest Service intends to move toward 
rangeland project decision making at broader 
ecological scales, project level decisions cannot be 
undertaken and completed for all grazing allotments 
immediately. Pending completion of rangeland 
project decisions, the Forest Service could issue 
term permits for less than 10 years which could 
coincide with the scheduled completion of the RPD. 
During the transition period, the authorized officer 
would develop and maintain a schedule for complet- 
ing NEPA analyses and RPDs. The schedule would 
be developed and maintained in consultation with 
grazing permittees and other interested parties. 
Those areas with significant resource concerns such 
as protection of threatened and endangered species, 
riparian and aquatic habitat, and water quality 
would have priority for completing rangeland 
project decisions. 

Under the Preferred Alternative, Forest Service 
authorized officers would continue to ensure that 
grazing permits were annually administered in a 
manner that meets vegetation, soil, water, and other 
forest plan standard and guideline requirements. If 
existing management practices failed to meet these 
requirements, then the authorized officer would take 
corrective action to adjust the amount, timing, 
and/or duration of grazing as necessary for proper 
rangeland management. Such action also could 
include administrative action (modification, suspen- 
sion, or cancellation) against the grazing permit. 

Annual adjustments in management in order to 
achieve forest plan standards and guidelines would 
be accomplished in annual operating or other writ- 
ten instructions. These instructions would fall 
within the scope of the decisions authorizing grazing 
use, and the NEPA documentation associated with 
those decisions. 

Monitoring of rangeland (including livestock graz- 
ing) management effectiveness in achieving forest 
plan standards and guidelines would continue. The 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 14 



kind, quantity, and quality standard of such infor- 
mation would be determined by the Forest Service 
authorized officer. 

Rangeland Program 
Administration 

Leasing 

In response to concerns that permittees who enter 
into private leases or agreements are unduly benefit- 
ing from their grazing permits, BLM under the 
Preferred Alternative would collect surcharges for 
pasturing agreements involving federal grazing 
permits and leases. BLM would continue to allow 
base property leases and the transfer of associated 
grazing preferences and permits. A transfer would 
be allowed for leases of base property for a mini- 
mum of three years unless a shorter term were 
determined by the authorized officer to be consistent 
with management and resource condition objectives. 
Under the Preferred Alternative, BLM permittees 
would also be allowed to enter into agreements to 
pasture another person's livestock (management 
lease) if the permittee showed proof of control 
through a formal agreement transferring control of 
the livestock. BLM would assess a surcharge for all 
livestock authorized under a pasture agreement. In 
most cases, no agreement would be needed for a 
permittee to pasture livestock owned by his or her 
own children, nor would a surcharge be applied. 

The Forest Service is not proposing a surcharge 
because it does not authorize leasing or pasturing 
agreements. Under the Preferred Alternative, 
Forest Service permittees would have to own both 
livestock and base property to qualify for a term 
grazing permit except as authorized in the eastern 
states. Children of Forest Service permittees may 
run up to 50 percent of their parent's permitted 
numbers under specified conditions. 

Foreign Corporations 

Current BLM policy allows foreign interests or 
corporations licensed to conduct business in the 
state in which grazing use is sought to hold grazing 
permits. The Preferred Alternative would not 
change BLM's policy. Forest Service policy would 
change from the current requirement of U.S. citi- 
zenship or being a corporation with at least 80 



percent of its owners being U.S. citizens to BLM's 
current policy. 

Disqualification 

The Forest Service and BLM would adopt the 
proposal for disqualification as set forth in the draft 
EIS with slight modifications with respect to Forest 
Service renewals, and consideration of past perfor- 
mance on grazing permits and leases by BLM. 

A Forest Service permit applicant would be consid- 
ered disqualified for the issuance or renewal of a 
Forest Service grazing permit if they, as either a 
permittee or affiliate, have had any federal grazing 
permit or lease cancelled for permit or lease viola- 
tions within 36 months prior to the date of applica- 
tion. 

Prohibited Acts 

For BLM, the Preferred Alternative would redefine 
prohibited acts to include violations of not just the 
Endangered Species and Bald Eagle Protection acts, 
but also the Wild Horse and Burro Act and other 
federal or state laws or regulations concerning, 
among other things, conservation or protection of 
natural and cultural resources or environmental 
quality when public lands are involved or affected. 
The Preferred Alternative would include provisions 
that were in BLM regulations before 1984 and 
would make BLM and Forest Service regulations 
more consistent. After conviction or an administra- 
tive finding of violation by a permittee, the BLM 
authorized officer could cancel, suspend, or with- 
hold a grazing permit if public lands had been 
involved or affected and no further appeals of the 
conviction or determination were outstanding. 

Current Forest Service policy would not change. 
The Forest Service would cancel, suspend, or 
modify a grazing permit when a permittee is con- 
victed of violating federal or state environmental 
laws or regulations related to grazing use authorized 
by the Forest Service grazing permit. 

Grant Policy 

Under the Preferred Alternative, Forest Service 
policy and BLM regulations would be changed to 
add the proven ability of an operator to improve or 



15 



Chapter 2 - Description of Alternatives 



maintain the condition of rangeland ecosystems 
through satisfactory performance records as a new 
criterion for issuing grazing permits for "new" or 
unallocated forage. 

Permit Tenure 

The Preferred Alternative would retain current 
provisions for permit tenure. As under current 
regulations, 10-year term grazing permits would 
normally be issued to permittees who meet the 
qualification criteria for holding term grazing 
permits. A permittee who refuses to accept the 
terms and conditions of an offered permit would not 
be authorized to graze livestock on federal lands. 
Grazing permits could be issued for less than 10 
years in limited situations, in accordance with 
existing regulations. 

To update Forest Service permits more efficiently 
over time, the Preferred Alternative includes a 
provision that would allow the authorized officer to 
cancel a permit at any time so that a new, updated 
permit could be issued. The Preferred Alternative 
would cause other changes to Forest Service permit 
regulations. Use previously authorized under 
livestock use permits would be authorized under 
temporary grazing permits. Temporary grazing 
permits would be issued for up to a 3-year period. 

Unauthorized Use 

The Preferred Alternative would allow BLM to 
reach nonmonetary settlements where unauthorized 
use is clearly unintentional, incidental, causes no 
resource damage, and where no substantial forage 
is consumed. This change would be consistent with 
Government Accounting Office findings and recom- 
mendations (GAO 1990). 

When assessing charges for unauthorized use, the 
following three categories of charges would be 
used. 

(a) Nonwillful: The current private land lease 
rate for the state in which the unauthorized use 
occurred. 

(b) Willful: Double the current statewide 
private land lease rate. 



(c) Repeated Willful: Three times the current 
statewide private land lease rate. 

The Forest Service would replace its term "excess 
use" with BLM's term "unauthorized use" relating 
to the grazing permit. It would also adopt BLM's 
three levels of financial penalties for unauthorized 
use. Under the Preferred Alternative both agencies 
would define the kinds of unauthorized use and 
apply financial penalties consistently. 

Conservation Use and Nonuse 

The Preferred Alternative would address BLM's 
authority to allow conservation use. Currently, 
BLM managers may approve conservation use 
(removal of livestock grazing for protection of the 
federal range) only on an annual basis. Under the 
Preferred Alternative, conservation use could be 
authorized for extended periods when needed to 
meet management objectives consistent with re- 
source condition objectives of existing land use 
plans and in compliance with standards and guide- 
lines. Once resource condition objectives were met, 
the area would no longer be eligible for conserva- 
tion use. Conservation use could be included in the 
conditions of grazing permits for up to the 10-year 
term of the permit. Forage set aside for conserva- 
tion purposes could not be used by other livestock 
operators. Nonuse requested solely for the personal 
convenience or economic benefit of a permittee 
could be approved for up to three years. 

The Forest Service's current policy of authorizing 
nonuse for up to three consecutive years for per- 
sonal convenience, and nonuse for up to permit 
term for resource protection would remain the 
same. The proposed changes for BLM would make 
the two agencies consistent in their administration of 
nonuse. 

Suspended Nonuse 

Under the Preferred Alternative, both agencies 
would continue to deal with suspended use (the 
same as suspended nonuse) as they do under Cur- 
rent Management. BLM grazing permits could 
contain both active and suspended nonuse animal 
unit months, and the Forest Service would not 
include suspended nonuse on its grazing permits. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 16 



Water Rights 

The Preferred Alternative provides consistent 
direction for BLM regarding water rights on public 
lands for livestock grazing and in general makes 
BLM's policy more consistent with Forest Service 
practice and with BLM policy before it was changed 
in the early 1980s. Under the Preferred Alterna- 
tive, any new rights to water on public land for 
livestock watering on such land would be acquired, 
perfected, maintained, and administered under state 
law. To the extent allowed by the law of the state 
within which the land is located, any such water 
right would be acquired, perfected, maintained, and 
administered in the name of the United States. 

The Preferred Alternative would create no new 
federal reserved water rights, nor would it affect 
valid existing water rights. Any right or claim to 
water on public land for livestock watering on 
public land by or on behalf of the United States 
would remain subject to 43 U.S.C. §666 (the 
McCarran Amendment), and section 701 of Public 
Law 94-579 (the Federal Land Policy and Manage- 
ment Act disclaimer on water rights). Finally, this 
provision would not change existing BLM policy on 
water rights for uses other than public land livestock 
grazing, such as irrigation, municipal, or industrial 
uses. 

No changes in Forest Service policy would result. 
The Forest Service acquires, maintains, and admin- 
isters water rights for livestock grazing on National 
Forest System lands subject to state law. 

Range Improvement Ownership 

The Preferred Alternative would provide that the 
United States hold tide to all new structural and 
non-structural grazing-related improvements on 
public lands administered by BLM, except tempo- 
rary or removable improvements. The ownership 
of existing range improvements would not be 
affected. For range improvements built under 
cooperative agreements, permittees would hold a 
financial interest in proportion to their contribution. 
Permittees could continue to own temporary struc- 
tures such as dip tanks, loading chutes, or portable 
water troughs placed on public lands under permit. 
These proposed changes would make BLM policy 
consistent with current Forest Service policy, which 
would not change under the Preferred Alternative. 



Range Betterment Fund 
Distribution 

The Preferred Alternative would change the way 
BLM Range Betterment Funds are distributed. 
Under the Preferred Alternative, 50 percent of 
Range Betterment Funds would be returned to the 
district of origin, and the remaining 50 percent 
would be distributed to BLM state offices, which 
would then direct such funding on a priority basis 
for rangeland ecosystem rehabilitation and protec- 
tion. This change would make BLM's procedures 
equivalent to Forest Service policy. Regional 
foresters distribute 50 percent of the Range Better- 
ment Funds directly to the national forest where 
generated and retain 50 percent for distribution on 
a regional priority basis. 

Range Betterment Fund Use 

The Preferred Alternative would revise BLM and 
Forest Service regulations and policies to expand 
and clarify the use of Range Betterment Funds. The 
proposed changes would allow such funds to be 
used for a wider range of activities needed to 
maintain and improve rangeland ecosystem health. 
These funds could be spent for planning projects, 
conducting environmental analyses and doing 
compliance inspections related to on-the-ground 
range improvements, improving vegetation condi- 
tions and quality, building range improvements, and 
monitoring the effectiveness of range improvements 
in achieving rangeland ecosystem management 
objectives. 

Appeals 

The Preferred Alternative would remove the current 
provision for an automatic suspension of decisions 
upon filing of an appeal of BLM rangeland manage- 
ment decisions and would make grazing regulations 
consistent with the appeals provisions in 43 CFR 
4.21, which govern other BLM actions. Those 
choosing to appeal an authorized officer's decision 
would be given a 30-day period in which to file an 
appeal. Appellants requesting a stay of the decision 
would be required to file a petition for stay with 
their appeal. If a petition for stay were filed with an 
appeal, the Department of the Interior's Office of 
Hearings and Appeals would have 45 days from the 
expiration of the 30-day appeal period to grant or 



17 



Chapter 2 - Description of Alternatives 



deny the petition for stay, in whole or in part. 
Thus, when a person has filed a petition for stay of 
the authorized officer's decision along with an 
appeal and when the request for stay is denied, 
decision implementation could be delayed up to 75 
days. If a stay of the decision is granted, the 
decision would be stayed until a determination is 
made on the appeal. This procedure is more consis- 
tent with Forest Service provisions. 

As under Current Management, the Preferred 
Alternative would continue to allow BLM managers 
to make decisions effective immediately where 
action is needed to protect rangeland resources. 

Forest Service appeal provisions would not change. 
Use and occupancy decisions of authorized Forest 
Service officers would continue to be implemented 
automatically unless a stay of the decision is re- 
quested and granted. Procedures to obtain a stay of 
Forest Service decisions would follow appeal 
regulations in 36 CFR 251.91. Decisions made 
under the National Environmental Policy Act would 
have an automatic 45-day stay if appealed (36 CFR 
215), but the appeal would have to be resolved 
within the 45-day period. 

Advisory Councils 

The Preferred Alternative would replace BLM 
grazing advisory boards and district advisory 
councils with resource advisory councils subject to 
the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. 
Appendix; FACA). These councils would focus on 
the full array of ecosystem and multiple use issues 
associated with BLM-administered public lands but 
would not give advice on internal BLM management 
concerns such as personnel or budget expenditures. 
The structure of these councils would be flexible. 

Membership of the resource advisory council would 
reflect a balance of views to ensure that the council 
would represent the full array of issues and interests 
associated with public land use, management, 
protection and an understanding of the federal laws 
and regulations governing public lands. Individuals 
would qualify to serve on a resource advisory 
council because of their commitment to collabora- 
tive effort, possession of relevant experience or 
expertise, and commitment to successful resolution 
of resource management issues and to applying the 



relevant law. An individual may serve on only one 
resource advisory council. 

The Forest Service currently does not use grazing 
advisory boards. Although these boards are autho- 
rized by current regulations, the law authorizing 
them expired in 1985. Under the Preferred Alterna- 
tive, this reference to grazing advisory boards 
would be removed from Forest Service regulations. 

The Secretary of Agriculture does have authority to 
set up advisory boards consisting of a variety of 
resource interests and viewpoints to advise the 
Forest Service, subject to the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act. The Forest Service could use these 
boards to gain input for rangeland use and manage- 
ment planning. All interested people and state, 
county, and federal agencies are allowed and en- 
couraged to participate in forest planning and 
project decision making in accordance with NFMA 
and NEPA. 

Under the Preferred Alternative, Forest Service 
officials would continue to recognize and consult 
with a broad array of publics, to include other 
agencies, livestock associations and districts, nox- 
ious weed control districts and boards, and other 
institutions, organizations and individuals interested 
in the protection and management of the rangeland 
ecosystem. 

Service Charges 

Under the Preferred Alternative, the Forest Service 
would assess service charges for permit actions 
initiated by current permittees or applicants or other 
actions relating to permit violations or willful 
unauthorized use that require permit processing or 
supplemental billings. BLM would add service 
charges for applications made solely for temporary 
nonuse or conservation use. Forest Service and 
BLM service charge practices would then be more 
similar. A service charge would be assessed by 
BLM for each crossing permit, transfer of grazing 
preference, application solely for nonuse, and 
replacement or supplemental billing notice, except 
for actions initiated by the authorized officer. The 
service charge would offset the costs of processing 
such applications. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 18 



Range/and Ecosystems 



Fee Incentives 



The Preferred Alternative would improve the 
current methods of making rangeland decisions to 
integrate all of the biologic, cultural, social, and 
economic factors needed to maintain or restore 
ecosystems. Both the BLM and the Forest Service 
would implement policies to manage rangeland 
resources using an ecosystem approach. 

BLM would implement this approach in two ways: 
(1) through national requirements, guiding princi- 
ples, and state or regional standards and guidelines; 
and (2) through regulation changes that would 
reform the administration of the rangeland program. 
These actions would speed up the restoration and 
improvement of western rangelands. All implemen- 
tation actions would be subject to conformance with 
existing land use plans and compliance with NEPA. 

The Forest Service would implement an ecosystem 
approach by changing its regulations to establish the 
authority and direction for managing rangeland 
resources and making site-specific rangeland project 
decisions on the basis of a landscape analysis of 
rangeland ecosystems, subject to NEPA compliance. 
These decisions would be designed to accomplish 
specific, on-the-ground purposes or results that 
implement the programmatic management direction 
in the forest plans. Rangeland project decisions 
could include maintaining or modifying plant com- 
munities or other resource conditions, constructing 
rangeland improvements, and authorizing livestock 
grazing. 

Implementing ecosystem management could require 
permittee participation in long-term resource moni- 
toring and inventory. This approach would give the 
Forest Service and permittee greater flexibility to 
adjust annual operations to meet ecosystem objec- 
tives established in the landscape analysis. 

Special Status Species 

Requirements of the Endangered Species Act and 
agency policy as discussed in the Current Manage- 
ment section of Chapter 2 of the draft EIS (see page 
2-7) would continue to be implemented under the 
Preferred Alternative. An updated Appendix F 
(Threatened, Endangered, or Proposed Species 
List) and a new appendix, Appendix T (Biological 
Opinion and Conference Report), are included. 



The Preferred Alternative contains a provision for 
a 30 percent incentive fee that would be developed 
in a separate rulemaking. The Preferred Alternative 
would restrict implementation of the $3.96 base 
value in the event a separate regulation setting forth 
eligibility criteria for the incentive fee is not issued 
by 1997. In recent years the Department of the 
Interior has considered several proposals for 
incentive-based grazing fees targeted at encouraging 
good stewardship of the public lands. Both Depart- 
ments intend to move forward in the preparation of 
a separate rules addressing incentive-based grazing 
fees. Those rule will set forth the eligibility criteria 
for the incentive fee. (Additional information can be 
found in the Preferred Alternative fee discussion.) 

To ensure timely development of the eligibility 
criteria for the fee incentive rule, the Preferred 
Alternative provides that an alternative base value 
of $3.50 would be implemented in 1997 if the 
Departments have not completed the eligibility 
criteria. This discounted base value would result in 
a grazing fee of $2.77 per AUM in 1997 for quali- 
fying permittees and lessees. The Departments 
intend to use their best efforts to issue final rules 
establishing incentive criteria in time to provide an 
opportunity for the reduced fee in grazing year 
1996. 

Fee Alternatives 

Seven fee alternatives are analyzed in this EIS: 



(1) 


Current Public Rangeland 




Improvement Act (PRIA) (No 




Action) 


(2) 


Modified PRIA 


(3) 


BLM-Forest Service Proposal 




(Preferred) 


(4) 


Regional Fees 


(5) 


Federal Forage Fee 


(6) 


PRIA with Surcharges 


(7) 


Competitive Bidding 



Table 2-2 summarizes the key elements of each fee 
alternative. 



19 



Chapter 2 - Description of Alternatives 



Table 2-2: Description of Fee Alternatives 



Elements 


PRIA 


Modified 
PRIA 


BLM-FS 
Proposal 


Regional 
Fees 


Federal 
Forage Fee 


PRIA with 

Surcharge 


Competitive 
Bidding 


BASE VALUE 


$1.23 


$1.23 


$3.96 


$4.68- 
$10.26 


3-yr. avg. 


PRIA 

($1.23) 


None 


MINIMUM FEE 


$1.35 


$1.23 


$3.96 


$4.68- 
$10.26 


3-yr. avg. 


PRIA 
($1.35) 


Market 

driven 


FACTORS 
AFFECTING FEE 


BV 

FVI 

BCPI 

PPI 


BV 

FVI 

BCPI 

ICI 


BV 
FVI 


Regional 
BV 
FVI 


WAPLLR 

NFCD 

PrLFVR 

NPD 


PRIA fee, 

Admin. 

Surcharge 


Demand 


MAXIMUM 

ANNUAL FEE 

VARIATION 


25% 


25% 


25% 


25% 


25% 


Fee: 
PRIA x 2 
Surcharge 

10% 


Would vary 


1993 CALCULATED 

, FEE 


$1.86 


$3.69 


$4.28 


$5.05- 
$11.08 


$2.36 


$3.72 


Would vary 


BV = Base Value; FVI=Forage Value Index; BCPI= Beef Cattle Price Index; PPI=Prices Paid Index; ICI = Input Cost Index; 
WAPLLR= Weighted Average of Private Land Lease Rates; PrLFVR=Ratio of WLGS Private Land Lease Rate to 1964-68 Base 
Year Private Land Lease Rate; NFCD=Nonfee Cost Differential; NPD=Ratio of Federal Permittee Cash Receipts to Nonfederal 
Producers Cash Receipts; PRIA=Public Rangelands Improvement Act 



Fee Alternative 1: PRIA 
(No Action) 

The fee alternative based on the Public Rangeland 
Improvement Act (PRIA) consists of a base value of 
$1.23 per AUM that is updated annually using three 
indexes. The indexes consider the change in forage 
value, the change in beef cattle prices, and prices 
paid for selected items purchased by permittees. 
The annual fee would not differ by more than 25 
percent from the fee charged in the previous year. 

Fee Alternative 2: 
Modified PRIA 

The Modified PRIA alternative would use the same 
base as PRIA, $1.23, but would differ in using an 
index for all production costs rather than selected 
production costs as used in the PRIA alternative. 
The annual fee would not differ by more than 25 
percent from the fee charged in the previous year. 



Fee Alternative 3: blm- 
Forest Service Proposal 
(Preferred Alternative) 

The grazing fee actions would apply to all BLM- 
administered lands and National Forest System land 
in the western states (except for the National Forests 
in Oklahoma and Texas). Historically, the national 
grasslands fee system differed from that of the 
national forests and BLM-administered lands. 
Under the Preferred Alternative, BLM and the 
Forest Service would have identical fees for the 
western states. The Preferred Alternative would 
not apply to fees on National Forest System Lands 
in the eastern states where fees are based on fair 
market value or competitive bidding. 

Under the Preferred Alternative, the fee increase 
would be phased in over a 3 -year period. This 
alternative contemplates that fee incentive criteria 
would be developed during the first 2 years. The 
third year of the phase-in would be implemented 
only if the incentive criteria were developed in 
separate rule makings. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 20 



The base value of $4.68 is derived from the 1983 
federal Land Forage Appraisal of the value of 
grazing on lands managed by the Forest Service and 
BLM in 16 western states (Arizona, California, 
Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, 
Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, 
Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and 
Wyoming). Dividing the 16 states into six pricing 
regions, the appraisal concluded that the value of 
public land grazing varied from $4.68 per AUM in 
the lowest value region (Southwest) to $8.55 per 
AUM in the highest value region (Northern Plains). 

The 1992 update, based on more data for private 
grazing lease rates gathered during 1991, found no 
change in the value of grazing in the lowest value 
region. The 1991 appraised value of public land 
grazing varied from $4.68 per AUM in the South- 
west to $10.26 per AUM month in the Northern 
Plains. 

Appendix B of the draft EIS, Technical Description 
of Fee Alternatives, contains a detailed description 
of the 1983 appraisal and the 1992 update. 

Alternative 3 differs from Alternatives 1 and 2 in 
having a different base value and in having a Forage 
Value Index (FVI) for 17 western states rather than 
11 western states. 

Fee =BVxFVI; 
BV=Base Value of $3.96 

In preparation for the development of an incentive- 
based fee, a provision has been included in the 
Preferred Alternative that would substitute a base 
value of $3.50, beginning in the year 1997, in the 
event that the Departments have not completed 
separate rulemakings establishing criteria and 
procedures for the implementation of an incentive 
fee formula. The incentive would be a 30 percent 
discount from the fee calculated using the proposed 
$3.96 base value. 

The Preferred Alternative would set a base value of 
$3.96 per animal unit month (AUM). This value 
represents a mid-range between the results obtained 
through the use of two methods for estimating a fair 
base value. The methodology used in arriving at 
the $3.96 base value is explained in Appendix C of 
the draft EIS, Rationale for the Proposed Grazing 
Fee Formula . The proposed fee would be phased 
in over the years 1995 through 1997. Thereafter, 



annual increases or decreases in the grazing fee 
resulting from changes in the forage value index 
(FVI) would be limited to 25 percent of the amount 
charged the previous year. This approach would 
provide a measure of stability that would facilitate 
business planning. The Department intends to 
examine the effect of the fee increase. 

The Forage Value Index (FVI) would be the 
weighted average of the prior year's private grazing 
land lease rate (PGLLR) per AUM for pasturing 
cattle on private rangelands in each of the 17 contig- 
uous western states (Arizona, California, Colorado, 
Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New 
Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South 
Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming), 
divided by the weighted average of the PGLLR per 
AUM for pasturing cattle in the year 1996 in each 
of the 17 contiguous western states. The weighted 
averages are calculated by multiplying the PGLLR 
for each of the 17 states by the number of public 
AUMs sold on public rangelands, National Forests 
and National Grasslands in each of the states during 
the respective years and dividing by the total num- 
ber of public AUMs sold in the 17 western states in 
the respective years. See Appendix D in the draft 
EIS, Private Grazing Land Lease Rates. 

This Preferred Alternative would establish 1996 as 
the base year for the FVI. The forage value index 
would not be used as a basis for annual fee adjust- 
ments, in response to market conditions, until 1997. 
This Preferred Alternative would establish the 1995 
grazing fee at $2.75 and the 1996 grazing fee at 
$3.50. Thereafter the fee would be calculated, 
using the base value of $3.96 multiplied by the 
revised forage value index. By definition, the 
forage value index in the 1997 would equal one, 
yielding a 1997 grazing fee of $3.96. In later years, 
the calculated fee would depend on changes in the 
market rate for private grazing land leases as re- 
flected by the forage value index. 

This change in the derivation of the forage value 
index would reduce the uncertainty in the fee in the 
immediate future that resulted from using a forage 
value index based on less current private land lease 
rate data. Under the proposal presented in the 
advance notice of proposed rule making, the fee 
would have been adjusted annually by a forage 
value index based on the average price paid for 
private grazing in the years 1990 through 1992. 
Assuming that forage value index would have 



21 



Chapter 2 - Description of Alternatives 



remained constant until the end of the phase in 
period provided in the advance notice, the formula 
would have yielded a grazing fee of $4.28 per AUM 
as compared to a 1997 fee of $3.96 per AUM using 
the revised forage value index. 

Fee Alternative 4: 
Regional Fees 

The regional fee alternative is the same as the 
Preferred Alternative fee, except that a different 
base value would be applied to six pricing regions. 
The regional base values would be derived from the 
1983 Federal Land Forage Appraisal (updated in 
1992) as described above. The regional base values 
would be updated annually using the FVI. The 
annual fee would not differ by more than 25 percent 
from the fee charged in the previous year. 

Fee Alternative 5: Federal 
Forage Fee Formula 

The federal forage fee formula developed by the 
Western Livestock Producers Alliance is based on 
a 3-year average of private grazing land lease rates 
for 16 western states. The formula uses multipliers 
of private land lease rates and deducts the updated 
1966 nonfee costs as described in the proposed fee 
alternative. That amount is multiplied by the 
percentage difference of cash receipts per cow for 
federal and nonfederal livestock producers. The 
annual fee would not differ by more than 25 percent 
from the fee charged in the previous year. 

Fee Alternative 6: PRIA 
with Surcharges 

This alternative would use the fee under the PRIA 
fee alternative ($1.86 for 1993) and add a surcharge 
to cover the cost of administering the grazing 
program at the local Forest Service and BLM 
administrative level. Each year the fee would be 
limited to twice the fee produced by the PRIA 
formula. After a 1-year phase-in, the surcharge 
would not differ by more than 10 percent from the 
previous year's surcharge. The 1993 fee range 
would have been between $1.86 and $3.72. For 
evaluation purposes, the $3.72 fee is used. 



Fee Alternative 7: 
Competitive Bidding 

Under this alternative, competitive bidding would 
be used to set grazing fees. The successful bidder 
would be required to adhere to the terms of the 
permit and perform specific management practices 
and facilities maintenance. The terms of the permit 
would be part of the bid process, allowing bidders 
themselves to estimate the market value of the 
forage. 

Alternatives Considered, 
but not Presented in 
Detail 

In addition to the seven fee formulas considered in 
detail in the draft EIS, three other fee options were 
identified for consideration by public comment on 
the draft EIS. 

/.) "Base the fee on weight gain per AUM. Fees 
could be calculated by compiling statistics on AUM 
weight gain for each region in the West, multiplying 
them by the economic worth of each pound's gain, 
then adjusting each spring by a factor based on the 
previous winter's precipitation. " 

Although this innovative approach would relate 
forage value to the rancher's economic returns from 
using the public forage, it has conceptual and 
practical difficulties. One of the main practical 
problems is developing a consistent data base on 
weight gains that would be representative of various 
regions in the West. One of the conceptual prob- 
lems would be how much of the economic value of 
each pound gained should be captured by the gov- 
ernment. Another conceptual problem would be 
selecting a proper factor to use in accounting for the 
previous winter's precipitation. Therefore, this 
option was not considered further. 

2.) "Establish a fee based on $0.89 per AUM 
multiplied by the proposed construction of the 
private rangeland rental rate index. This alternative 
is supported by the 1966 Western Livestock Grazing 
Survey (WLGS) as adjusted to higher 1994 operat- 
ing costs. " 

The proposed base value of $0.89 is apparently 
based on the Grazing Fee Task Group (GFTG) 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 22 



estimate of the value of cattle grazing on federal 
lands in the three-state test area using the total cost 
approach (USDA/USDI, 1993a). The GFTG 
authors concluded that the values derived from the 
total cost approach were not valid for purposes of 
establishing a grazing fee because the values yielded 
inconsistent results. A base value of $0.89 multi- 
plied by the FVI would not yield a fee that would 
meet the goal of a fair and reasonable return to the 
public. Because of these problems, this alternative 
was not considered in detail in the EIS. 

3.) "Keep PRIA, but charge a higher fee for summer 
pasture than the one charged for winter pasture. " 

There is no consistent basis for charging more for 
summer pasture than for winter pasture. The price 
of forage is based on supply and demand and how 
valuable forage is to the ranch operation. In the 
northern United States, forage is more plentiful in 
the summer and thus can be worth less than winter 
forage. In the Southwest, where there is year round 
grazing, the price of forage may not differ from 
winter to summer. Also, the kind of livestock, 
sheep or cattle, using the public lands affects the 
season of grazing and the total demand for forage. 
Consequently this proposal was considered but 
eliminated from detailed analysis in the EIS. 

Relationship Between 
Alternatives 

The five rangeland management alternatives and 
seven grazing fee formula alternatives provide an 
array of management and fee formula options that 
respond to both the purpose and need identified in 
Chapter 1. 

Management alternatives address management 
aspects other than fees of the BLM and Forest 
Service rangeland management programs, including 
standards and guidelines and 19 other elements of 
rangeland policy and regulations identified during 
agency reviews and scoping. Fee formula alterna- 
tives consist of different methods for setting grazing 
fees. 



Thirty-five alternatives could be developed by 
combining the five management alternatives with 
the seven fee formulas. In Chapter 4 of the draft 
EIS, which is incorporated by reference, each 
management alternative is combined with each of 
the seven fees, and the cumulative impacts are 
analyzed. Chapter 4 of the draft EIS also includes 
an extensive analysis of a high ($6.38), moderate 
($4.28), and low ($1.86) fee combined with each of 
the management alternatives. (See analysis of 
impacts on economic conditions in Chapter 4 and 
the appendices of the draft EIS.) 

Table 2-1 provides a side-by-side comparison of the 
five management alternatives considered in detail, 
as well as a comparison of BLM and Forest Service 
rangeland management policies and regulations. 
Table 2-2 provides a side-by-side comparison of the 
seven fee alternatives considered. The key elements 
of Rangeland Reform '94 identified by the BLM and 
the Forest Service in analyzing the impacts of the 
alternatives are grouped together under the follow- 
ing headings: 

Climate 

Air Quality 

Vegetation and Watershed Conditions 

Wildlife 

Special Status Species 

Grazing Administration 

Wild Horses and Burros 

Recreation and Scenic Values 

Cultural and Paleontological Values 

Economic Conditions 

Social Conditions 

Tables comparing the impacts of the alternatives are 
found on pages 2-46 through 2-55 of the draft EIS. 
Charts comparing the alternatives for: change in 
environmental status of BLM and Forest Service 
uplands in the long-term and short-term; changes in 
environmental status of BLM and Forest Service 
riparian areas for the long-term and short-term; and, 
reductions in livestock industry income for the long- 
term and short-term appear on pages 2-56 through 
2-63 in the draft EIS. The changes made to the 
Preferred Alternative do not affect the impacts and 
conclusions set forth in these tables. 



23 



Chapter 3 - Description of Alternatives 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 24 



Chapter 3 

Affected Environment 



Chapter 3 of the draft EIS for Rangeland Reform '94 
is incorporated by reference, in accordance with 40 
CFR 1500.4Q) and (o), 1502.21 and 1506.4, with 
changes set forth in Chapter 5 of this document. The 
incorporated material can be found on pages 3-1 
through 3-82 in the draft EIS and pages 23 through 
30 in the Executive Summary and the content is 
briefly summarized below. The BLM and Forest 
Service team reviewed the public comments and 
concluded the analysis in the draft EIS adequately 
describes the affected environment. The public 
comments did not raise significant issues or informa- 
tion that would affect the adequacy of that analysis to 
support the selection of the preferred alternative. 

Chapter 3 of the draft EIS describes the physical, 
biological, social, and economic environment of the 
West that would be affected by implementing the 
Preferred Alternative. The draft EIS describes 
resources of the lands analyzed including, vegetation, 
wildlife, nongame wildlife, wild horses and burros, 
recreation, wilderness, palentological and cultural 
resources, economic conditions, and social condi- 
tions. 



Rangelands 



This chapter describes the natural resources and 
economic values of rangelands and discusses factors 
that have influenced current conditions. 

The rangelands of the American West form a vast 
and varied landscape. Spanning nine climatic zones 
and containing diverse soils, vegetation, and wildlife, 
these rangelands include the hot deserts of the 
Southwest, the sagebrush plateaus of the Great Basin, 
the grasslands of the Great Plains, and the understory 
of Rocky Mountain coniferous forests. 

Rangelands contain two basic types of vegetation 
communities: upland and riparian. Upland vegetation 
communities occur on dry sites and are by far the 
most widespread. Riparian vegetation communities 
occur in wet areas and occupy only one percent of 
rangelands. 



Healthy riparian communities stabilize and protect 
streambanks from erosion. They help filter 
sediments, improve water quality, reduce flooding, 
recharge groundwater, and maintain streamflow. 
Riparian areas are also the most biologically produc- 
tive and diverse habitats on public land. They pro- 
vide food, water, cover, nesting areas, and protected 
pathways for wildlife movements and migrations. All 
fish and nearly all terrestrial wildlife species depend 
on riparian areas to survive. 

When a stream loses watershed characteristics, it is 
said to be nonfunctioning. Nonfunctioning riparian 
communities cannot provide important watershed 
values and provide the amount and quality of habitat 
needed by fish and wildlife. 

Once riparian areas become nonfunctioning, they 
usually will not recover without major changes in 
management. But, because they have good dry-season 
soil moisture, most riparian areas will respond 
relatively rapidly to management changes once 
disturbance factors are controlled. Many riparian 
areas have improved and have begun to function 
properly within five years after management changes. 
In some cases, restored riparian habitats have re- 
established perennial streamflow in streams that were 
previously intermittent. 

BLM is responsible for managing about 176 million 
acres of uplands and 1 million acres of riparian 
areas. The Forest Service is responsible for managing 
about 144 million acres of uplands and 2.2 million 
acres of riparian areas. 

Interpreting rangeland conditions has always been 
controversial. In the past, BLM and the Forest 
Service have applied field measurement techniques 
that describe vegetation communities but do not tell 
whether overall ecological processes are working 
properly and meeting ecosystem needs. To reflect 
this broader view, the agencies are adopting new 
methods of evaluating and/or reporting rangeland 
conditions. 



25 



Chapter 3 - Description of Alternatives 



The Forest Service has implemented a reporting 
system based on whether rangeland conditions are 
meeting resource objectives for a given site. The 
resource objectives incorporate the fundamental needs 
and health of the ecosystem. The Forest Service 
estimates that 80 percent of the uplands it manages 
either meets or is moving toward objectives while 20 
percent is not. The Forest Service also estimates 
about 78 percent of the riparian areas under its 
management either meets or is moving toward 
objectives while 22 percent is not. 

BLM is implementing a system based on whether 
rangeland conditions on a site can sustain natural 
plant communities and basic ecological functions 
where livestock grazing occurs. This system de- 
scribes three categories of rangelands: 



health of rangeland vegetative communities and 
watersheds. More than 100 species that use range- 
lands are listed as federally threatened or endangered, 
including the desert tortoise, Utah prairie dog, bald 
eagle, and Lahontan cutthroat trout. Many other 
wildlife species are considered in serious decline and 
have been given sensitive, special status, or other 
protective designations. 

The decline in species that depend on riparian com- 
munities is especially extensive and alarming. Many 
species of native fish, upland birds, neotropical 
migratory birds, and raptors have been greatly 
affected. For example, more than 100 special status 
riparian species inhabit Arizona and New Mexico, 
and most salmon stocks that use rangeland streams 
are at risk. 



Proper Functioning - When vegetation and ground 
cover maintain soil conditions that can sustain 
natural biotic communities. 

Functioning at Risk - When the capabilities of 
vegetation and soil are susceptible to losing their 
ability to sustain natural functioning biotic commu- 
nities. Human activites, past or present, may 
increase the risks. 

Nonfunctioning - When vegetation and ground 
cover are not maintaining soil conditions that can 
sustain natural biotic communities. 

BLM estimates that about 57 percent of the uplands 
it manages are in proper functioning condition; 
another 30 percent are functioning at risk; the re- 
maining 13 percent of the uplands are 
nonfunctioning. BLM estimates that about 34 percent 
of the riparian acres it manages are in proper func- 
tioning condition; another 46 percent are functioning 
at risk; the rernaining 20 percent of riparian acres are 
nonfunctioning. 

wildlife and special 
Status Species 

More than 3,000 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, 
fish, and amphibians inhabit public rangelands. 
Wildlife species and populations vary widely, 
depending on regional climates and local habitat 
conditions. Overall, wildlife reflects the diversity and 



In addition to wildlife, 75 plant species are listed as 
federally endangered or threatened, and more than 
1,100 other plant species are protected. 

Economic Conditions 

The economy of the western states is highly diversi- 
fied. Between 1982 and 1990, employment in all 
industries grew by 1 1 million workers. The percent- 
age of total employment has increased in the service, 
finance, insurance, real estate, construction and retail 
sectors. Industries that have decreased as a percent- 
age of total employment include government, 
manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, communi- 
cation, utilities, and mining. 

As with employment, income in the agriculture sector 
has declined relative to other industries of the 
Western economy. In the 16 western states (Wash- 
ington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, 
Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, 
North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and 
Oklahoma), income increased by $350 billion from 
1982 to 1990. Although income in the agriculture 
industry grew between 1982 and 1985, by 1990, the 
income level had fallen back to the 1982 level. All 
industries except agriculture grew in income over this 
period. 

Beef cattle producers with federal permits make up 
about 3 percent of the 907,000 producers in the 48 
contiguous states. In 11 western states (Arizona, 
California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 26 



Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming), 
federal permittees and lessees make up 22 percent of 
total beef producers. Sheep producers with federal 
permits in the 11 western states make up about 19 
percent of the total sheep producers. 

The importance of federal rangelands to livestock 
production can be measured by rancher dependency 
on federal forage. Average dependency of permittees 
on federal forage is highest in Arizona and lowest in 
Montana. The difference is due to the amount of 
federal land compared to private land, the availability 
of year-long grazing, and the number of permittees 
who have BLM and Forest Service permits. 



According to the 1990 Farm Costs and Returns 
Survey, BLM and Forest Service permittee grazing 
fee expenses represent about 3 percent of total cash 
costs. Average per-cow costs for permittees are 
significantly lower than for non-permittees. An 
estimate of the cost differential suggests that non- 
permittee net costs are about $40 per cow higher than 
permittee costs. 

Permittees spend more per cow for breeding stock, 
fences, and hired labor than non-permittees. Non- 
permittees spend more per cow overall for capital 
items, machinery, buildings, equipment, feed, pasture 
rental, purchased stock cattle, and other variable and 
fixed cash costs. 



27 



Chapter 3 - Description of Alternatives 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 28 



Chapter 4 

Environmental Consequences 



Chapter 4 of the draft EIS for Rangeland Reform '94 
is incorporated by reference, in accordance with 40 
CFR 1500.40) and (o), 1502.21 and 1506.4, with 
changes set forth in Chapter 5 of this document. The 
incorporated material can be found on pages 31 
through 53 in the Executive Summary in the draft 
EIS, and on pages 4-1 through 4-123 in the draft 
EIS. Its content is briefly summarized below. A team 
reviewed the public comments and concluded the 
analysis in the draft EIS adequately describes the 
environmental consequences of the management and 
fee alternatives. The public comments did not raise 
significant issues or information that would affect the 
adequacy of that analysis to support the selection of 
the Preferred Alternative. Some changes were made 
as a result of public comment. However, the changes 
reflected in the Preferred Alternative are within the 
scope and analysis of the draft EIS and do not alter 
the analysis of the environmental consequences 
contained in that document. 

This chapter (including material incorporated by 
reference) contains a discussion of the environmental 
consequences of each alternative. It addresses: 
livestock use levels; availability and use of range 
betterment funds; vegetation (upland conditions and 
riparian conditions); watershed; wildlife; special 
status species; wild horses and burros; recreation, 
wilderness and cultural resources; economic condi- 
tions; and social conditions. In Chapter 4 of the draft 
EIS, each of the five management alternatives is 
combined with each of the seven fees, and the 
cumulative impacts are analyzed. Chapter 4 of the 
draft EIS also includes an extensive analysis of a 
high, moderate, and low fee combined with each of 
the management alternatives. 

The Preferred Alternative described in the final EIS 
contains changes to the Proposed Action described in 
the draft EIS. They are as follows: 

Standards and Guidelines - BLM standards and 
guidelines would be modified to incorporate more 
fully a watershed management approach and current 



science, and to be more consistent with rangeland 
health goals. The standards and guidelines are 
intended to establish a direction toward restoration of 
rangeland health in areas where rangeland health has 
not yet been achieved. The standards and guidelines 
have also been reorganized and rewritten for clarity. 
These changes were made in response to internal 
review and public comment on the draft EIS and 
proposed rule. 

Leasing - The proposed BLM rule provided for the 
imposition of a surcharge on authorized base property 
leases and pasturing agreements, except with respect 
to children of the permittee or lessee. The Preferred 
Alternative would retain the exemption for children, 
would eliminate the surcharge on base property 
leases, and would modify the calculation of the 
surcharge authorized for pasturing agreements. 

Disqualification - The Forest Service and BLM 
would adopt the proposal for disqualification as set 
forth in the draft EIS with slight modifications with 
respect to Forest Service renewals, and consideration 
of past performance on grazing permits and leases by 
BLM. 

Advisory Councils - The structure of BLM resource 
advisory councils would be more flexible than under 
the Proposed Action described in the draft EIS. 

Forest Service Rangeland Project Decisions - Discus- 
sion of the proposed Forest Service rangeland project 
decision (RPD) process is expanded to clarify the 
link with NEPA and the role of the permittee and 
other interested parties in the planning process, and 
to explain why AMPs are being phased out. This 
discussion also explains that Forest Service grazing 
permits could be issued for less than 10 years during 
the transition period to RPDs. The term of such 
permits could coincide with the priority scheduling of 
the NEPA analysis and RPD for each grazing allot- 
ment. The expansion and clarification of this section 
was in response to public comment that questioned 
the intent of the RPDs, the permittee and public 



29 



Chapter 4 - Environmental Consequences 



involvement in the planning process, and the ability 
of the Forest Service to complete RPDs. 

Permit Tenure - In limited situations, Forest Service 
grazing permits could be issued for less than 10 
years. 

Alternative 1: Current 
Management 

Livestock use Levels 

Livestock forage authorized by BLM would decline 
by 18 percent and forage authorized by the Forest 
Service would decline by 19 percent over 20 years. 

vegetation 

Up/and Conditions 

In the long term (20 years), it is estimated that about 
117 million upland acres of BLM uplands would be 
in proper functioning condition (an increase of 30 
percent from 1993). Another 22 million acres of 
BLM uplands would be functioning at risk (a de- 
crease of 55 percent from 1993), and BLM upland 
acres in nonfunctioning condition would be about 20 
million acres (a decrease of less than five percent 
from 1993). In the long term, about 60 million acres 
(82 percent) of Forest Service uplands would either 
be meeting objectives or moving toward objectives. 
Another 13 million acres (18 percent) would not be 
meeting objectives. 

Riparian Conditions 

In the long term, about 33 percent of BLM riparian 
acres would be in proper functioning condition (a 
decrease of three percent from 1993), 45 percent 
would be functioning at risk (a decrease of less than 
one percent from 1993), and 21 percent would be 
nonfunctioning (an increase of seven percent from 
1993). In the long term, about 75 percent of Forest 
Service riparian areas would either be meeting 
objectives or moving toward objectives (a decrease of 
four percent from 1993). About 25 percent would not 
be meeting objectives (an increase of 14 percent from 
1993). 



Watershed Conditions 

Watershed and water quality conditions would remain 
static or decline slightly in many areas over the long 
term. Accelerated erosion and runoff from uplands 
would decrease, but streambank trampling and 
continued decline in overall riparian conditions would 
increase sediment discharge in many areas. Over the 
long term, important watershed functions such as 
water quality maintenance, flood peak reduction, and 
ground water recharge would remain nonfunctioning 
or functioning at risk. 

wildlife and Special Status 
species 

Improvements in upland vegetation would benefit 
upland-dependent wildlife. Big game species would 
remain generally stable. However, the decline in 
riparian conditions in many areas would affect big 
game species, such as mule deer, that rely on 
riparian habitats for thermal and hiding cover. 

The abundance and diversity of wildlife species 
dependent on riparian habitat would decline in many 
areas over the long term. At greatest risk would be 
waterfowl, many upland game birds, and raptors 
associated with cottonwood and aspen riparian 
habitats. 

About 20 percent of anadromous fish habitat would 
significantly improve, but habitat conditions else- 
where would remain static or decline. Overall, 
anadromous fish populations would continue to 
decrease in many areas over the long term. 

Special status species associated with upland vegeta- 
tion would benefit from improvements in upland 
conditions. But many special status species are 
associated with riparian habitat. Their status would 
be unlikely to change and as many riparian areas 
continue to decline, additional species dependent on 
these areas would be designated special status. 

Economic conditions 

Employment and income impacts would be minor in 
the agriculture sector in particular and compared to 
the westwide economy as a whole. The impacts 
would occur in the context of a western economy that 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 30 



has shown consistent growth over the past 10 years 
and is expected to continue growing. 

Alternative 2: Preferred 

The environmental consequences associated with the 
Proposed Action can be found in pages 4-38 through 
4-63 in the draft EIS and are incorporated by 
reference. 

Livestock use Levels 

After 20 years, livestock forage authorized would be 
three percent less than under Current Management. 

vegetation 

Up/and Conditions 

In the long term (20 years), it is estimated that about 
138 million acres of BLM uplands would be in 
proper functioning condition, an increase of 55 
percent from 1993 (as compared to a 30 percent 
increase under Current Management). Another six 
million acres of BLM uplands would be functioning 
at risk, a decrease of 90 percent from 1993 (a 55 
percent decrease is expected under Current Manage- 
ment). BLM upland acres in nonfunctioning condition 
would be about 15 million acres, a decrease of 30 
percent (less than five percent decrease is expected 
under Current Management). In the long term, about 
60 million acres (82 percent) of Forest Service 
uplands would either be meeting objectives or mov- 
ing towards objectives (an increase of two percent). 
Another 13 million acres (18 percent) would not be 
meeting objectives (a decrease of nine percent). 

Riparian Conditions 

In the long term, about 43 percent of BLM riparian 
acres would be in proper functioning condition (an 
increase of 27 percent from 1993). In contrast, under 
Current Management, proper functioning BLM 
riparian areas would decrease by three percent. 
About 41 percent would be functioning at risk (a 
decrease of 11 percent from 1993), and 16 percent 
would be nonfunctioning (a decrease of 20 percent 
from 1993). In contrast, riparian areas under Current 



Management in nonfunctioning condition would 
increase by seven percent. In the long term, about 84 
percent of Forest Service riparian areas would either 
be meeting objectives or moving toward objectives 
(an increase of seven percent from 1993). About 16 
percent would not be meeting objectives (a decrease 
of 26 percent from 1993). 

Watershed Conditions 

The Preferred Alternative would substantially im- 
prove upland watershed conditions over the long 
term. Plant cover and water infiltration would in- 
crease, resulting in less runoff and erosion. Riparian 
watershed conditions would benefit moderately from 
proper grazing management and reduced livestock 
use. Water quality, ground water recharge, and 
increased streamflow would improve or increase on 
the 20 percent of the nonfunctioning riparian areas 
projected to improve. 

Wildlife and Special status 
Species 

The overall improvements in vegetation and water- 
shed conditions would benefit most wildlife species. 
Projected increases in upland grasses would favor 
such big game species as elk over pronghorn and 
mule deer, but habitat diversity would be maintained 
on a local basis through management treatments and 
natural events such as wildfire and drought. 

Increases in functioning riparian habitat would 
improve food sources, nesting, broodrearing, and 
thermal cover for most wildlife. Big game, nongame, 
upland birds, waterfowl, raptors, and anadromous 
and resident fisheries would benefit over the long 
term. 

Over the long term, the Preferred Alternative would 
improve the vegetation communities favored by most 
special status species. Special status species depen- 
dent on native upland vegetation, such as sage 
grouse, could benefit substantially from the projected 
changes in upland condition. Improvements in 
riparian conditions would benefit populations of 
aquatic special status species such as the Lahontan 
cutthroat trout, Gila trout, and others. 



31 



Chapter 4 - Environmental Consequences 



Economic conditions 



vegetation 



Impacts on employment and income would be greater 
than current management under the Preferred Alter- 
native in the short term, but over the long term 
would be similar. Ranch employment and income 
could continue to decline in a western economy that 
has consistently grown over the past 10 years and is 
expected to continue growing. Continued growth in 
employment and income in other sectors would 
overshadow the relatively small employment and 
income reductions from declines in livestock grazing 
on federal lands. 

Specific local impacts would be expected to differ 
from the overall impacts. Ranching operations with 
a large number of livestock and large dependency on 
federal forage would be affected the most. 

Improvements in resource conditions under the 
Preferred Alternative would create some positive 
economic impacts in the long term and offset some of 
the declines in employment and income from reduced 
forage allocations. Improved wildlife habitat and 
recreation sites could increase employment and 
income as hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing 
opportunities increase. 



Alternative 3: Livestock 
Production 

Livestock use Levels 

Based on current trends, the amount of federal forage 
would decline by four percent in the short term. For 
the long term, vegetation manipulation and range 
improvements would somewhat offset these trends, 
but forage would decline by 10 percent for BLM and 
14 percent for the Forest Service, as compared to 15 
percent in five years and 18 percent in 20 years 
under Current Management. After 20 years, livestock 
forage would be four percent greater under this 
alternative than under Current management. 



Up/and Conditions 

In the long term (20 years), about 129 million acres 
of BLM uplands would be in proper functioning 
condition, an increase of 40 percent from 1993 (as 
compared to a 30 percent increase under Current 
Management). Another 12.5 million acres of BLM 
uplands would be functioning at risk, a decrease of 
75 percent from 1993 (a 55 percent decrease is 
expected under Current Management). BLM upland 
acres in nonfunctioning condition would be about 
17.5 million acres, a decrease of 15 percent (less 
than five percent decrease is expected under Current 
Management). In the long term, about 60 million 
acres (82 percent) of Forest Service uplands would 
either be meeting objectives or moving towards 
objectives (an increase of two percent). Another 13 
million acres (18 percent) would not be meeting 
objectives (a decrease of nine percent). 

Riparian Conditions 

In the long term, about 32 percent of BLM riparian 
acres would be in proper functioning condition (a 
decrease of eight percent from 1993). In contrast, 
under Current Management proper functioning BLM 
riparian areas would decrease by three percent. 
About 45 percent of BLM riparian areas would be 
functioning at risk (a decrease of two percent from 
1993), and 24 percent would be nonfunctioning (an 
increase of 18 percent from 1993). In contrast, BLM 
riparian areas under Current Management in 
nonfunctioning condition would increase by seven 
percent. In the long term, about 70 percent of Forest 
Service riparian areas would either be meeting 
objectives or moving toward objectives (a decrease of 
10 percent from 1993). About 30 percent would not 
be meeting objectives (an increase of 37 percent from 
1993). 

Watershed Conditions 

Watershed and water quality conditions would 
decline over the long term. Improvement in upland 
vegetation over the long term would reduce runoff 
and erosion, but improper grazing management in 
riparian areas would more than offset this improve- 
ment. Improper grazing management in riparian areas 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 32 



would cause increased sediment, altered stream 
channel structure, warmer water temperatures, lower 
dissolved oxygen levels, and continued nonpoint- 
source pollution at or near existing levels. 

Wildlife and Special Status 
Species 

The decline of many riparian areas would contribute 
to the long-term decline in riparian-dependent 
wildlife. Big game species, such as pronghorn 
antelope and mule deer, rely on riparian habitat for 
shade and cover. The overall decline in riparian 
vegetation conditions would reduce water, nesting 
habitat, roosting habitat, forage, and cover for upland 
game, waterfowl, and raptors. Overall aquatic habitat 
for resident and anadromous fish would continue to 
decrease as riparian conditions in many areas decline. 

As many riparian areas would decline, special status 
species dependent on riparian habitat would decrease 
and become listed at an accelerated rate. Upland 
species dependent on livestock forage may increase 
slightly over the long term due to improved upland 
conditions. 

Economic conditions 

Fewer employment and income impacts would result 
from the Livestock Production alternative than from 
other alternatives. The impacts would be slight in the 
agriculture sector in particular and compared to the 
westwide economy as a whole. Continued growth in 
employment and income would tend to offset the 
relatively small employment and income declines 
from reduced forage. Short term and long term rates 
of decline in employment and income would be lower 
than the rates of decline under Current Management 
but would not be reversed. 

Increased emphasis on producing livestock forage 
would slightly slow the decline in the livestock 
subsector of the agriculture industry, but population 
growth and demographic changes in the West and in 
many western rural communities would continue to 
transform rural economies. 

The overall projected deterioration of resource 
conditions in many areas would lessen recreation 



opportunities, which could adversely affect 
recreation-related economic activity. 

Alternative 4: 

Environmental 

Enhancement 

Livestock use Levels 

In the short term, authorized livestock forage would 
decline 53 percent from existing forage consumption 
on BLM lands (as compared to 15 percent under 
Current Management) and 45 percent on National 
Forest System lands. In the long term, authorized 
livestock forage would decline 30 percent on BLM 
lands (as compared to 18 percent under Current 
Management) and 29 percent on Forest Service 
administered land. After 20 years, livestock forage 
would be 12 percent less than under Current Manage- 
ment. 

vegetation 

Up/and Conditions 

In the long term (20 years), about 151 million acres 
of BLM uplands would be in proper functioning 
condition, an increase of 65 percent from 1993 (as 
compared to a 30 percent increase under Current 
Management). No BLM uplands would be function- 
ing at risk. BLM upland acres in nonfunctioning 
condition would be about eight million acres, a 
decrease of 60 percent (a decrease of less than five 
percent is expected under Current Management). In 
the long term, about 69 million acres (95 percent) of 
Forest Service uplands would either be meeting 
objectives or moving toward objectives (an increase 
of 18 percent). Another 3.8 million acres (five 
percent) would not be meeting objectives (a decrease 
of 73 percent). 

Riparian Conditions 

In the long term, about 59 percent of BLM riparian 
acres would be in proper functioning condition (an 
increase of 71 percent from 1993). In contrast, under 
Current Management, proper functioning BLM 
riparian areas would decrease by three percent. 
About 32 percent of the BLM riparian acreage would 



33 



Chapter 4 - Environmental Consequences 



be functioning at risk (a decrease of 30 percent from 
1993), and nine percent would be nonfunctioning (a 
decrease of 53 percent from 1993). In contrast, BLM 
riparian areas under Current Management in 
nonfunctioning condition would increase by seven 
percent. In the long term, about 100 percent of 
Forest Service riparian areas would either be meeting 
objectives or moving toward objectives (an increase 
of 28 percent from 1993). 

Watershed Conditions 

Watershed values and water quality would improve 
significantly in the long term. Erosion and runoff 
would not change in the short term. Improved 
riparian and upland conditions would complement 
each other. 

Wildlife and Special Status 
Species 

Improved upland and riparian vegetation would 
increase cover for many wildlife species. Such 
improvements would benefit big game, upland game, 
waterfowl, raptors and fish by providing more 
diverse, healthy ecosystems. Such ecosystems 
provide more habitat and diverse diets for all wild- 
life. 

Special status species would trend toward recovery in 
the short and long term as upland vegetation and 
riparian areas improve and provide the habitat 
characteristics required by many of these species. 

Economic Conditions 

The five year declines in employment and income 
across all fee levels would amount to 0.5 percent of 
total westwide agricultural employment. Employment 
and income impacts would be greater under the 
Environmental Enhancement alternative in both the 
short term and long term than all other alternatives 
except for No Grazing. Still, the impacts would be 
minor in the agriculture sector in particular and to 
current economic conditions and trends in the 
westwide economy as a whole. Continued growth in 
employment and income in other sectors would 
overshadow the relatively small employment and 
income reductions from declines in federal forage 



grazed by livestock. Locally, substantial impacts in 
some rural communities would result. 

Improved resource conditions would create positive 
economic impacts in the long term . These impacts 
would be greater than under any other alternative, 
except for No Grazing. Greatly improved wildlife 
habitat and recreation site improvements could 
generate increases in employment and income as 
hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing opportunities 
increase. 

Alternative 5: No crazing 
Livestock use Levels 

No forage would be permanently allocated for 
livestock grazing . Livestock would graze only where 
needed to help achieve resource objectives. Livestock 
management work in the BLM and Forest Service 
would decline. Permittees would be compensated for 
the current value of their investments in range 
improvements, which would be expensive in the short 
term. 

vegetation 

Up/and Conditions 

In the long term (20 years), about 151 million acres 
of BLM uplands would be in proper functioning 
condition, an increase of 65 percent from 1993 (as 
compared to a 30 percent increase under Current 
Management). No BLM uplands would be function- 
ing at risk. BLM upland acres in nonfunctioning 
condition would be about eight million acres, a 
decrease of 60 percent (a decrease of less than five 
percent is expected under Current Management). In 
the long term, about 69 million acres (95 percent) of 
Forest Service uplands would either be meeting 
objectives or moving toward objectives (an increase 
of 18 percent). Another 3.8 million acres (five 
percent) would not be meeting objectives (a decrease 
of 73 percent). 

Riparian Conditions 

In the long term, about 65 percent of BLM riparian 
acres would be in proper functioning condition (an 
increase of 91 percent from 1993). In contrast, under 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 34 



Current Management, proper functioning BLM 
riparian areas would decrease by three percent. 
About 28 percent of the BLM riparian areas would 
be functioning at risk (a decrease of 38 percent from 
1993), and six percent would be nonfunctioning (a 
decrease of 68 percent from 1993). In contrast, BLM 
riparian areas under Current Management in 
nonfunctioning condition would increase by seven 
percent. In the long term, about 100 percent of 
Forest Service riparian areas would either be meeting 
objectives or moving toward objectives (an increase 
of 28 percent from 1993). 

Watershed! Conditions 

Watershed values and water quality would improve 
to their maximum potential in the long term. In- 
creases in upland vegetation and plant litter would 
improve soil properties, increase water infiltration, 
and reduce the amount of runoff and erosion from 
upland areas. Water quality, ground water recharge, 
flood peak reduction, and other riparian watershed 
benefits would substantially increase as essentially all 
riparian areas move toward proper functioning 
condition. Erosion and runoff would not change in 
the short term. Improved riparian and upland condi- 
tions would complement each other. 

Wildlife and special status 
Species 

The projected improvements in vegetation and 
watershed conditions would increase the diversity and 
abundance of wildlife. About 75 percent of degraded 
anadromous fish habitat would be restored. Water- 
fowl populations would increase, although expected 
increases may be limited by changes in resource 
conditions on private lands. Upland game and 
nongame species would benefit from improved 
riparian habitat and from increased vegetation for 



winter food and cover. The use of management tools 
such as fire would need to increase to maintain 
optimal habitat for certain big game species. The 
broad, accelerated improvement in ecological condi- 
tions would result in long term trends toward the 
recovery of many listed and sensitive species. 

Economic Conditions 

The economic impacts would be greatest under the 
No Grazing alternative. This alternative would affect 
about eight percent of the beef cattle inventory in the 
11 western states, 2.4 percent of the beef cattle 
inventory in 17 western states (including Texas), and 
0.8 percent of the sheep inventory in the 1 1 western 
states. 

Employment and income impacts would be minor 
relative to the total westwide economy. In agricul- 
ture, impacts would be relatively greater. But, in the 
long term, continued growth of employment and 
income in other industries would tend to offset 
employment and income reductions from eliminating 
grazing on public lands. 

The effect on beef prices of eliminating livestock 
grazing on public lands would be slight. In the near 
term, liquidating sheep and cattle herds would lower 
prices as more livestock are slaughtered. In the long 
term, a one percent decrease in national cattle 
inventory could result in about a one percent increase 
in retail beef prices. But this price affect could be 
negated by an increase in the national cattle inven- 
tory. 

Greatly improved wildlife and fisheries habitat and 
recreation site improvements could increase employ- 
ment and income as hunting, fishing, and wildlife 
viewing opportunities increase. 



is 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 36 



Chapter 5 

Consultation and Coordination 



Chapter 5 of the draft EIS for Rangeland Reform '94 
is incorporated by reference, in accordance with 40 
CFR 1500.40) and (o), 1506.4 and 1520.21. The 
incorporated material can be found on pages 5-1 
through 5-13 of the draft EIS and the content is 
briefly summarized below. 

introduction 

This chapter is a restatement and revision of the draft 
EIS Chapter 5. The Consultation section below 
contains an update on Endangered Species Act 
Section 7 consultation. New sections include informa- 
tion on distribution of the proposed regulations and 
the draft EIS, public hearings, distribution of the 
final EIS, and how public comments on the draft EIS 
were processed. These are followed by a section 
containing changes to the draft EIS resulting from a 
review of public comments. 

The last section of this chapter, "Comments and 
Responses," includes comments made during the 
public review period, summaries of public comments 
on the draft EIS, and responses to those comments. 
It includes responses to comments that bear directly 
on the analysis of the draft EIS, as well as some 
comments that relate to the proposed regulations, but 
do not affect the environmental analysis. 

In responding to public comments, the agencies 
considered not only those comments specifically 
addressed in the EIS but also those comments on the 
proposed rules that had the potential to affect the 
analysis of impacts. There were also comments 
addressed to the EIS suggesting possible revisions to 
the proposed rule. Those comments addressing 
matters unrelated to environmental impacts will be 
addressed in the Preamble to the Final Rule. How- 
ever, some of them are also addressed in the com- 
ment and response section of this EIS. If several 
commenters raised the same issue, the team generally 
responded to it only once, rather than repeating the 
response at various places throughout the chapter. 



Cooperating Agency 

The Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
was a cooperating agency in the preparation of the 
final EIS. 

Consultation 

During preparation of the draft EIS, BLM and the 
Forest Service formally consulted on listed species 
and informally conferenced on species proposed for 
listing with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and 
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) under 
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 
Formal Section 7 consultation and conferencing with 
the FWS and the NMFS includes the establishment of 
a framework for additional consultations and confer- 
ences at regional, state, or site-specific levels as 
necessary. Formal consultation and conferencing has 
been completed and are included in Appendix T, 
Biological Opinion and Conference Report. 

The FWS and NMFS have found that administrative 
changes and the grazing fee rules addressed in the 
Preferred Alternative would have "no effect" on 
threatened, endangered, or proposed species, or their 
critical or proposed critical habitat. Forest Service 
rules for management of grazing use were determined 
to "not likely to adversely affect" threatened, 
endangered, or proposed species, or critical or 
proposed critical habitat. Formal consultation under 
the ESA was requested because the BLM Preferred 
Alternative for national requirements and state or 
regional standards and guidelines "may affect" 
threatened, or endangered species, or species 
proposed for listing, or their critical or proposed 
critical habitat (see Appendixes T and F). 

Before implementing additional actions at the 
regional or site-specific level that might affect listed 
species or species proposed for listing or their critical 
or proposed critical habitat, the agencies would 
consult or confer with the FWS or the NMFS as 



37 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



required by Section 7 of the ESA. When appropriate, 
BLM and the Forest Service would conduct these 
consultations and conferences using an ecosystem or 
range wide approach. 

Before authorizing surface disturbance undertakings 
at the regional or local level, BLM and the Forest 
Service would identify cultural properties eligible for 
inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places 
and consider the effects of the proposed undertakings 
through the consultation process in Section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. 

Overview of Public 
Participation 

The EIS public participation process consists of 
several phases. Public participation begins with 
scoping, which is conducted to help identify issues 
and alternatives before any decisions are made. 
Information gathered during scoping is analyzed and 
used in determining the issues to be addressed and 
the alternatives to be presented in detail in a draft 
EIS. 

A draft EIS is subject to further public review and 
comment during the public comment period. Follow- 
ing the comment period, comments are analyzed and 
a final EIS is developed. The final EIS also responds 
to comments received during the review period. 

Public involvement throughout the EIS process 
ensures that the process is open and considers 
information from all interested parties, including 
other federal agencies, Indian tribes, state and local 
government, the scientific community, professional 
organizations, a variety of public land users, conser- 
vation organizations, and citizens at large. 

Public participation opportunities for Rangeland 
Reform '94 have included the following: 

• five grazing town hall public meetings, 

• 60-day comment period on the BLM and 
Forest Service advance notices of proposed 
rulemaking, 

• 70-day scoping period for the draft EIS, 

• formal hearings conducted throughout the 
West during the public comment period on 
the proposed rule and draft EIS 



• 167-day comment period on the BLM pro- 
posed rule, 

• 133-day comment period on the Forest 
Service's two proposed rules, and 

• 1 19-day comment period on the draft EIS. 

During a three-month period beginning November 
17, 1993, Secretary of the Interior Babbitt met on 20 
occasions throughout the West with groups that 
included western governors, state and local officials, 
ranchers, environmentalists, and other public land 
users. Representatives from the Department of 
Agriculture (including the Forest Service) accompa- 
nied the Secretary at these meetings. He visited 
locations in Colorado, Wyoming, and Oregon where 
local groups were already addressing land manage- 
ment issues. He also participated in hundreds of 
hours of discussion about the components of Range- 
land Reform '94. The meetings in Colorado, Idaho, 
Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Oregon, Nevada, 
and Utah resulted in many productive suggestions 
that are reflected in the new proposal. 

Grazing Town Hall 
Meetings 

During the spring and summer of 1993, Secretary of 
the Interior Bruce Babbitt conducted the following 
public meetings in the West to obtain public views: 

April 30 Bozeman, MT 

May 1 Reno, NV 

May 5 Grand Junction, CO 

May 6 Albuquerque, NM 

July 9 Flagstaff, AZ 

Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, 
including the Forest Service, accompanied the 
Secretary at these meetings. More than 300 members 
of the public testified, and more than 1,300 people 
submitted letters and comment sheets during or after 
the meetings. Discussions centered on the importance 
of protecting and restoring the condition of the public 
rangelands, the need to change the current grazing 
fee and formula, and the economic importance of 
public resources to rural communities. 

Although these meetings were not part of the formal 
scoping process for the draft EIS, BLM and the 
Forest Service considered the views expressed at 
these meetings and in later correspondence while 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 38 



developing the Rangeland Reform '94 initiative and 
the draft EIS. (For further information, see draft EIS, 
Appendix S, Summary of 1993 Grazing Town Hall 
Meetings.) 

Scoping 

An extensive public scoping process was conducted 
for the Rangeland Reform '94 draft EIS. A notice of 
intent to prepare the EIS and to invite public com- 
ments and suggestions on the scope of the analysis 
was published in the July 13, 1993, Federal Register. 
The scoping period was reopened for 30 more days 
through an August 13, 1993, Federal Register notice, 
and then for 30 more days through a September 20, 
1993, Federal Register notice. BLM and the Forest 
Service each published a separate advance notice of 
proposed rulemaking in the August 13, 1993, Federal 
Register. These notices provided a 30-day comment 
period, which was extended by 30 days in the 
September 20, 1993, Federal Register. 

News releases were issued nationwide at the same 
time that the Federal Register notices were published 
in July, August, and September. Beginning in 
August, information packages on Rangeland Reform 
'94 were provided to permittees, interest groups, 
state and local governments, congressional offices, 
and Native American groups. When requested, 
briefings were provided to entities such as local and 
state governments, grazing advisory boards, industry 
associations, and environmental and recreation 
groups. 

More than 12,600 pieces of mail were received from 
July 13 through October 20, 1993. Of these, more 
than a third were duplicates (letters sent by the same 
party more than once or to more than one govern- 
ment entity). Comment letters were sent not only to 
the Rangeland Reform '94 mailing address, but also 
to the Secretary of the Interior; the Secretary of 
Agriculture; the BLM Director; BLM's Assistant 
Director for Land and Renewable Resources; the 
Director, Range Management, Forest Service; and 
Members of Congress. 

A BLM -Forest Service comment analysis team was 
established to review the comment letters. After 
identifying and filing duplicate letters, the comment 
analysis team recorded more than 56,000 comments 
from more than 8,000 letters. All comments were 



reviewed, analyzed, and considered. The results of 
comment analysis were given to the EIS team. 
Letters postmarked after October 20, 1993, were 
reviewed for unique ideas and also given to the EIS 
team. All original letters and analyzed copies of 
letters have been kept on file in sequential order. 

Distribution of the 
Proposed Rulemakings 

BLM's proposed rulemaking was published in the 
Federal Register on March 25, 1994. The Forest 
Service's proposed rules were published in the 
April 28, 1994, Federal Register. All of the notices 
provided for public comment periods ending on 
July 28, 1994. Federal Register notices published on 
July 27 extended the comment periods through 
September 9, 1994. Copies of the proposed 
rulemaking were provided to federal agencies, state 
and local governments, congressional offices, Indian 
tribes, livestock operators and companies, environ- 
mental organizations, and other people interested in 
Rangeland Reform '94. 

Distribution of the Draft 

EIS 

The impacts of BLM's and the Forest Service's 
proposed action and alternatives were analyzed in the 
draft EIS, which was filed with the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) on May 6, 1994. Both 
EPA and BLM published notices of the availability of 
the draft EIS in the May 13, 1994, Federal Register. 
The notices provided the address for submission of 
written comments and established a 90-day public 
comment period expiring on August 11, 1994. In an 
August 4 Federal Register notice, BLM extended the 
EIS comment period until September 9, 1994. News 
releases announcing the availability of the draft EIS 
and the extension of the comment period also were 
issued throughout the West. Comments were pro- 
vided to BLM and the Forest Service in two ways: 
(1) in writing, sent to the address provided, and (2) 
orally or in writing at one of 49 public hearings held 
on June 8, 1994. 

More than 14,000 copies of the draft EIS were 
distributed to federal agencies, state and local 
governments, congressional offices, livestock opera- 
tors and companies, environmental organizations, and 



39 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



many individuals concerned about the outcome of the 
Rangeland Reform '94 process. Correspondence 
generated by the grazing town meetings, EIS scop- 
ing, and BLM and Forest Service advance notices of 
proposed rulemakings was used to develop the basic 
mailing list for the draft EIS. Copies of the draft EIS 
also were available for review and distribution in 
BLM's resource area offices and the Forest Service's 
National Forest supervisors' offices. Copies of the 
draft EIS may be obtained by contacting the BLM at 
(202) 452-7740. 

Public Hearings 

On June 8, 1994, BLM and the Forest Service held 
48 hearings throughout the West on the draft EIS and 
the proposed rulemakings; one hearing also was held 
that day in the East. Hearings were preceded by open 
houses staffed by BLM and Forest Service personnel 
to answer individual questions about Rangeland 
Reform '94 proposals. The location and procedures 
for the open houses and hearings were published in 
the May 16, 1994 Federal Register and announced in 
news releases. More than 1,900 people testified at 
the hearings. A transcript was made of each hearing. 
The transcripts are part of the public comment record 
and were analyzed during preparation of the final 
EIS. 

Distribution of the Final 

EIS 

Copies of the final EIS have been sent to federal 
agencies, state and local governments, Indian Tribes, 
livestock operators and companies, environmental 
organizations, and other members of the public, 
including all people and organizations who com- 
mented on the draft EIS. 

The final EIS includes: 

• a statement of the purpose and the need for 
the action; 

• a description of the alternatives, including 
the preferred alternative; 

• a description of the affected environment; 

• an analysis of the environmental 
consequences; 

• an analysis of over 20,000 public comments 
on the draft EIS; and 



• other items required by the Council on 
Environmental Quality regulations. 

Additional Actions 

No sooner than 30 days after publication of the final 
EIS, the Secretary of the Interior will make a 
decision regarding adoption of a final rule and will 
issue a record of decision. Final regulations will be 
published in the Federal Register that will implement 
the BLM's rangeland management reform, including 
a grazing fee formula. 

Concurrently with the Secretary of the Interior's 
decision, the Secretary of Agriculture will issue a 
record of decision and publish in the Federal Register 
final rulemaking for the Forest Service's grazing 
fees. A second record of decision for changes to 
Forest Service grazing use management regulations 
will be issued when the rules are published in the 
Federal Register. 

The final rules issued by the Secretaries of the 
Interior and Agriculture may reflect some modifica- 
tions made as a result of public comment and 
consideration of the final EIS during the administra- 
tive decision making process. 

How Public Comments on 
the Draft EIS were 
Processed 

This chapter includes responses to all comments that 
bear on the analysis of the draft EIS and that were 
received during the comment period. The chapter 
also includes some comments that relate to the 
proposed regulations, but do not affect the environ- 
mental analysis. 

More than 20,000 pieces of mail were received 
during the comment period on the draft EIS and 
proposed rulemakings. In addition, transcripts from 
the 49 public hearings were reviewed. All comments 
received on both the draft EIS and the proposed rule 
were carefully considered in preparation of this final 
EIS. This chapter includes a description of public 
comments on the draft EIS and responses to those 
comments. At a minimum, comments on both the 
draft EIS and the proposed rule have been addressed 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 40 



if they relate to inadequacies or inaccuracies in the 
analysis or methodologies used; identify new impacts 
or recommend reasonable new alternatives or mitiga- 
tion measures; or involve substantive disagreements 
or interpretations of significance. 

In responding to public comments, a team considered 
not only those comments specifically addressed to the 
draft EIS, but also those comments on the proposed 
rule that had the potential to affect the analysis of 
impacts. Similarly, comments addressed to the EIS, 
but suggesting possible revisions to the proposed 
rules, were passed on to the BLM-Forest Service 
group responsible for reviewing public comment on 
the proposed rules. If several commenters raised the 
same issue, the team generally responded to it only 
once, rather than repeating the response at various 
places throughout the chapter. 

Responses are of three kinds: A statement that the 
EIS has been revised in accordance with new infor- 
mation presented in the comment; an explanation of 
why the EIS text has not been revised in accordance 
with such information; or a clarification of issues 
peripherally related to the analysis of the EIS but 
outside its scope. 

Public comments were carefully considered and used 
in the preparation of the final EIS. A number of 
clarifying statements and some expanded analysis has 
been added in response to comments. Some com- 
ments addressing clarification issues were incorpo- 
rated in the document without changing the analysis 
and some were beyond the scope of the Proposed 
Action. In addition, the Proposed Action has been 
modified based on public comments. A brief descrip- 
tion of these changes is included in the preface of 
this final EIS and the Preferred Alternative is de- 
scribed in Chapter 2. Many comments were related 
to regulatory language and will be addressed in the 
preamble discussion of the final rule making. 

A BLM-Forest Service comment analysis team was 
established to review the comment letters and hear- 
ings transcripts. The comment analysis team re- 
corded more than 38,000 comments from more than 
20,000 letters and hearings transcripts. All original 
letters and transcripts have been kept on file in 
sequential order. 



Comments were grouped and summarized in a 
comment statement. Responses were developed for 
each of the comment statements. These are presented 
in this chapter under "Comments and Responses." 

Because of the volume of comments received on the 
draft EIS, it was not feasible to reprint individual 
letters or testimony in the final EIS, although they 
are retained as part of the record. 

Response categories 

Process 

Standards and Guidelines 

Suitability 

Rangeland Health/Condition 

Vegetation Zones 

Ecosystem Management 

Special Status Species 

Wildlife/Wild Horses and Burros 

Associated Resources 

Riparian Health/Condition 

Fees 

Employment and Income Impacts 

Local Communities 

Livestock Operations/Livestock Industry 

Permit Value 

Lending Institutions 

General Economics 

Social 

Water Rights 

Public Participation 

Appeals 

Permits and Leases 

Lease and Pasturing Agreements 

Authorizing Use 

Conservation Use 

Forest Service Planning 

In addition, it was not feasible to list each agency or 
organization that commented on the draft EIS. 

The complete mailing list was provided to the 
Environmental Protection Agency with the filing of 
the final EIS. A copy of the mailing list is available 
upon request. 

Changes to the Draft EIS 

Public comments received on the draft EIS did not 
necessitate extensive changes in the data, analyses, or 



41 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



conclusions. Changes generally clarify the analysis 
without altering it. In some cases, the analysis has 
been expanded with new information in response to 
comments. The conclusions of the analysis have not 
changed. 

The standards and guidelines contained in the Pro- 
posed Action in the draft EIS have been modified and 
superseded by the Preferred Alternative. BLM 
standards and guidelines have been modified to 
incorporate more fully a watershed management 
approach and current science, and to be more consis- 
tent with rangeland health goals. The standards and 
guidelines are intended to establish a direction toward 
restoration of rangeland health in areas where range- 
land health has not yet been achieved. The standards 
and guidelines have also been reorganized and 
rewritten for clarity. These changes were made in 
response to internal review and public comment on 
the draft EIS and proposed rule. 

Changes to the BLM-Forest Service Proposed Action 
have been incorporated directly into the Preferred 
Alternative in Chapter 2 of this document. An 
updated Appendix F (Threatened, Endangered, or 
Proposed Species List) and a new appendix, Appen- 
dix T (Biological Opinion and Conference Report), 
can be found at the end of this document. 

Following are changes to other portions of the draft 
EIS, derived from both public comment and internal 
agency review. 

Text 

Make the following changes: 

Executive Summary, Page 37, Column 2, under 
Social Conditions: Add the following: 

"Losses in ranch income could decrease the 
economic well-being of affected permittees 
and their families. Lifestyle changes in 
response to the income loss could include 
families decreasing their discretionary 
spending, diversifying their operations to 
make them less dependent on ranching, 
sending family members to work off the 
ranch to earn more income, or selling their 
ranches, either to other ranchers or develop- 
ers. Most permittees would try to adjust 



their operations to absorb the income losses 
rather than sell their ranches because main- 
taining the ranching lifestyle is important to 
them. The size of the loss for any permittee 
would depend on the size of the ranch, the 
dependency on federal forage, the amount of 
forage lost, and the grazing fee. The effect 
of the loss on any individual permittee 
would vary, depending on the size of the 
loss, the financial condition of the operation, 
and the dependence of the ranch family on 
the operation. The location and intensity of 
impacts are difficult to estimate. " 

Executive Summary, Page 42, Column 1, Riparian 
Conditions, Paragraph 1, Line 7: Change "an in- 
crease of 53 percent" to "a decrease of 53 percent." 

Page 1-9, Column 1, Paragraph 2, Line 13: Sentence 
should read, "... fact that grazing bills on more 
than 73 percent of BLM permits and leases and about 
50 percent of Forest Service permits would increase 
less than $1,000 per year, ..." 

Page 3-15, Column 2, Paragraph 1, Line 6: Replace 
the word "number" with "composition." 

Page 3-18, Column 1, Line 2: Delete "also" and 
substitute "the large ungulates." At the end of that 
sentence, add "Many granivores, small herbivores, 
and their predators have high reproduction rates and 
may rapidly respond to a change in vegetation 
composition, structure, or condition." 

Page 3-48, Column 2, Paragraph 3, Line 5: Delete ". 
. ., and any other group that has been formally 
designated as a management concern." 

Page 3-51, Column 1, Paragraph 1, Line 6: Sentence 
should read, "... on more than 4.79 million acres of 
critical habitat for the desert tortoise . " 

Page 3-65, Column 1, Paragraph 1, Line 8: Delete 
the words "off the farm . . . programs and policies." 
Replace with "The growing importance of off-farm 
income to farm households implies that, for most 
farm operator households, public policies that 
strengthen the rural nonagricultural economy are 
more important to maintaining household income than 
are agricultural commodity programs and policies." 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 42 



Page 3-68, Column 2, Paragraph 1, Line 12: Sen- 
tence should read, "... information on 16,482 
permittees and 51,807 nonpermittees. . ." 

Page 3-70, Column 2, Paragraph 3: Delete the first 
sentence "As a general rule . . .". Change the 
beginning of next sentence from "A value associated 
..." to "The value associated ..." 

Page 3-75, Column 1, Paragraph 3; add these sen- 
tences to the end of this paragraph: "Overall in the 
11 western states, 8.3 percent of the beef cattle 
operations are female owned or managed. California 
has the highest number and proportion of female 
owned or managed operations. Nearly 7 percent of 
the beef cattle operations in the 1 1 western states are 
minority owned or operated. New Mexico has, by 
far, the largest number and proportion of these 
operations. Arizona, California, and Colorado also 
have high numbers and proportions of minority 
owned or operated beef cattle operations." 

Page 3-75, Column 1, Paragraph 4 "Fowler and 
others . . .: The first part of the second sentence 
should be changed from "Although their research 
does not represent all ranches with federal permits, 
..." to "Although their research was not a random 
sample of all ranches with federal permits, ..." 
After this sentence, add "The survey was conducted 
in 1982 before the Rangeland Reform '94 proposal 
was developed." 

Page 4-11, Column 2, Paragraph 2: Drop the first 
three sentences of the paragraph. Paragraph 4: 
Delete the word "essentially" from line 4. 

Page 4-12, Column 1, Paragraph 3: Change the word 
"could" to "would" in the first sentence. 

Page 4-14, Column 1, after the last paragraph "Un- 
der some of the alternatives . . . " : Add the following 
new paragraph: 

"To varying degrees, each of the alterna- 
tives under consideration would affect the 
economic and lifestyle stresses felt by ranch- 
ing families. The magnitude of these affects 
is examined for each alternative in the 
alternative-specific section. " 



Page 4-15, Column 1, after Assumptions and Analy- 
sis Guidelines Common to All Alternatives: Add the 
sentence, "In this discussion, 'long term' effects are 
those expected to be realized in 20 years; 'short 
term' effects, in 5 years." 

Page 4-15, Column 1, after Vegetation: Add the 
sentences, "This analysis only considered impacts to 
upland and riparian functioning status from livestock 
grazing. The existing situation data for upland 
functioning condition was developed through the 
professional judgement of agency resource specialists 
and provides the basis for analysis of impacts from 
livestock grazing on the proposed action and alterna- 
tives as well as a comparison between alternatives. 
The only risk factor considered for nonfunctioning or 
functioning-at-risk areas is livestock grazing." 

Page 4-26, Column 2, Paragraph 2; Drop the first 
two sentences and replace with: "Where livestock 
grazing occurs without appropriate controls or 
constraints, continued grazing could degrade the 
watershed and water quality." 

Page 4-39, Column 1, Paragraph 1: Drop the entire 
paragraph and replace it with: 

"The rangeland project decision process 
would improve Forest Service efficiency, 
since a two-tiered planning/decision making 
process would be adopted. The Forest Ser- 
vice would strengthen its ability to meet 
forest plan goals by implementing rangeland 
project decisions (RPDs), and incorporating 
forest plan standards and guidelines and 
RPD requirements as terms and conditions 
in grazing permits. Forest plan goal attain- 
ment would be more rapid than under cur- 
rent management." 

Page 4-61, Column 2: Add the following before 
paragraph 2: 

"Losses in ranch income could decrease the 
economic well-being of some affected 
permittees and their families. Lifestyle 
changes in response to the income loss 
could include families decreasing their 
discretionary spending; diversifying their 
operations to make them less dependent on 
ranching; sending family members to work 



43 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



off the ranch to earn more income or selling 
their ranches, either to other ranchers or 
developers. Most permittees would try to 
adjust their operations to absorb the income 
losses rather than sell their ranches because 
maintaining the ranching lifestyle is impor- 
tant to them. " 



BLM Grazing Permits - 37.5 cents to the federal 
Treasury; 12.5 cents to the state for the benefit 
of the county where fees were collected; 25 
cents to the Range Betterment Fund for expendi- 
ture on a priority basis; and 25 cents to the 
Range Betterment Fund of the state and district 
where the fees were collected. 



Page 4-64, Column 1, Paragraph 5, Line 8: Sentence 
should read, "... to decline by 3 percent. . ." 

Figures and Tables 

Make the following changes: 

Page 52, 53, 2-62, 2-63, 4-33, 4-57, 4-78, 4-102: 
The figure title should read, "Reductions in Total 
Income. . . " Delete the table descriptor "BLM and 
Forest Service permittees only" located in the bottom 
left corner of the figure. 

Page 3-32, 3-33: Footnote to table and figure should 
be added as, "Unknown acreage was prorated to the 
other categories in figures presented in Chapter 4 and 
the summary." 

Page 3-59: Most of the employment numbers (per- 
centages) presented for Mining, Construction, Manu- 
facturing, Services, and Government in Figure 3-5 
were in error. The 1982 figures for Mining and 
Construction were slightly under-represented. Per- 
centages for all years (1982, 1985, and 1990) for 
Manufacturing, Services, and Government were 
greatly understated. The result is that in relation to 
the latter three categories, employment figures for 
Agriculture represent a considerably smaller percent- 
age of overall employees than shown in the figure. 
(Note: For the correct numbers, see page 3-58, Table 
3-12.) 

Page 3-69, Figure 3-18: Values representing the 
"Number of Ranches" should read 16,482 for 
Permittees and 51,807 for Nonpermittees. 

Page 3-72, 3-73: The following information clarifies 
the figures on outlining the distribution of grazing 
receipts and Range Betterment Funds. The distribu- 
tion for each $1.00 received in grazing receipts is 
illustrated as follows: 



BLM Grazing Leases - 50 cents to the state for 
the benefit of the county were collected; 25 
cents to the Range Betterment Fund for expendi- 
ture on a priority basis; and 25 cents to the 
Range Betterment Fund of the state and district 
where the fees were collected. 

Forest Service Grazing Permits - 25 cents to the 
federal treasury; 25 cents to the state for the 
benefit of the county from which they were 
derived; 25 cents to forest of origin, subject to 
Congressional appropriations (Range Betterment 
Funds); and 25 cents to regional office of forest 
of origin, subject to Congressional appropria- 
tions (Range Betterment Funds). 

Page 4-32, 4-56, 4-77, 4-101: The table title should 
read "Decreases in Westwide Regional. . ." 

Page 4-36, 4-60, 4-82, 4-105: These tables should 
show the change in grazing fee receipts from current 
conditions for each of the management alternatives 
(Current Management Alternative, Proposed Action, 
Livestock Production, and Environmental Enhance- 
ment) under all fee alternatives. Instead, they show 
total grazing fee receipts for each of the alternatives. 

To determine the change in receipts from current 
conditions after 5 years, subtract the number in the 
column titled "5 Years" from the column titled 
"Current." 

For example, in Table 4-3 (page 4-36), to determine 
the change in grazing fee receipts after 5 years under 
continuation of the current PRIA fee formula, sub- 
tract the column titled "Current PRIA Fee - 5 Years" 
from the column titled "Current." 

Page 4-39, Figure 4-6: Figure shows potential short 
and long term livestock forage that could be autho- 
rized. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 44 



Page 4-43: The Value representing "CM Long Term, 
Functioning" should read 117,000. 

Pages 4-68, 4-111: The descriptor located at the 
bottom of the figure should read, "Thousands of 
Acres." 



Appendixes 

Make the following changes: 

Page G-6: The value for the item, "Other public 
pasture, Permittees, Dollars per Ranch" should read 
625. 



Page G-7: The values for item, "Ranches repre- 
sented, 1990 FCRS, Permittees, Ranches" should 
read 16,482. The values for item, "Ranches repre- 
sented, 1990 FCRS, Non- Permittees, Ranches" 
should read 51,807. 

Page G-8, Column 1, Paragraph 1, Line 7: Sentence 
should read, "... costs per unit (see Table 3)." 

Page G-8, Column 2, Paragraph 1, Line 4: Drop 
"(see table 3)." 

Page G-8: The table title should read, '"t'-test 
results... nonpermittees, 1991 1 ." Variable "Per Cut" 
should read "Per Hundredweight (CWT)." The value 
of the "Per Hundredweight (CWT), Cash Costs, 
Small" should read +.01. 

Page G-8, Footnote 4, Line 1: Sentence should read, 
"... cash returns per cow and per hundredweight 
(CWT) were regressed ..." 

Page G-8, Footnote 4, Line 5: Sentence should 
read,". . . numbers squared, hundredweights of cattle 
sold per cow, and percent dependency." 

Glossary 

Make the following changes: 

Page GL-3, Column 2: Delete phrase 
"BIOTASEDIMENT YIELD" and its definition. 

Page GL-9, Column 2, before GRASSLANDS: Add 
"GRANIVORES: Animals that subsist mainly or 
entirely on grain and seeds." 



Page GL-9, Column 2, under GRAZING: The 
definition should read, "Consumption of standing 
forage by livestock or wildlife. " 

Page GL-16, Column 2, after Paragraph 4: 
Add,"RANGELAND HEALTH: The degree to 
which the integrity of the soil and the ecological 
processes of rangeland ecosystems are sustained. 
Rangeland health exists when ecological processes 
are functioning properly to maintain the structure, 
organization and activity of the system over time." 

References 

Add the following citations: 

Albrecht, Stan, Thompson, J. 1988. The Place of 
Attitudes and Perceptions in Social Impact Analysis. 
Society and Natural Resources, Vol 1. 

American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers. 1987. 
The Appraisal of Real Estate. Chicago. Pages 70-72. 

Bailey, R.G. 1994. Second Edition Map. For De- 
scription of the Ecoregions of the United States. 
Miscellaneous Publication 1391. Washington, D.C.: 
USDA Forest Service. 

Bartlett, E. T., L. W. Van Tassell, N. R. Rimbey, 
and L. A. Torell. 1994. "Recommendations from the 
1993 Grazing Fee Study. Rangelands 16: 52-54. 

Carande, Vilma G., Paul H. Gutierrez, Steve B. 
LeValley, Rod L. Sharp, and James W. Richardson. 
1994. Economic Impacts of Incentive Payments and 
Public Land Policies on Colorado Sheep Ranches. 
IRMPG Working Paper 94-S1. Fort Collins: Inte- 
grated Resource Management Policy Group, Colo- 
rado State University. 

Fowler, J. M., D. Rush, J. M. Hawkes, and T. D. 
Darde. 1994. Economic Characteristics of the West- 
ern Livestock Industry. Report 35, Range Improve- 
ment Task Force. Las Cruces: New Mexico State 
University, in cooperation with National Cattlemen's 
Association and Western Livestock Producers' 
Alliance. 

Gardner, B. D. 1962. "Transfer Restrictions and 
Misallocation in Grazing Public Range." 
Journal of Farm Economics 44(1): 50-63. 



45 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Gardner, B. D. 1963. "A Proposal to Reduce 
Misallocation of Livestock Grazing Permits." 
Journal of Farm Economics 45: 109-120. 

Gee, C. K. 1981. Estimating Economic Impacts of 
Adjustments in Grazing on FederalLands and Estimat- 
ing Federal Rangeland Forage Values, Colorado 
State University Experiment Station Technical 
Bulletin 143. Fort Collins: Colorado State Univer- 
sity. 

Hahn, W. F., T. L. Crawford, K. E. Nelson, and R. 
A. Bowe. 1989. Estimating Forage 
Values for Grazing National Forest Lands. U.S. 
Department of Agriculture-Economic Research 
Service, Staff Report AGES 89-51. Washington, 
D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic 
Research Service. 

Havstad and others, Agricultural Research Service. 
February 1994. Animal Unit Equivalents: An Exami- 
nation of the Sheep to Cattle Ratio for Stocking 
Rangelands. New Mexico State University, Las 
Cruces, New Mexico, p. 11. 

Jensen, B. C. and D. Thomas. 1967. Determining 
Grazing Fees on National Forests: Range and Ranch 
Problems, Policy Implications and Alternatives for 
Future Economic Research in the Use and Develop- 
ment. Utah State University, WAERC Report No. 9. 

Libbin, J. D., and L. A. Torell. 1990. "A Compari- 
son of State and USDA Cost and Return 
Estimates." Vkstern Journal of Agricultural Econom- 
ics 15:300-310. 

Marousek, G. E., L. D. Stodick, P. Carlson, and C. 
C. Gibson. 1994. "Economics of Value-Adding 
Rangeland Beef Cattle Enterprises." Rangelands 
16:9-12. 

Moline, B. R., R. R. Fletcher, D. T. Taylor, G. 
Fink, F. Henderson, and L. Bourret. 1994. 
Contribution of Federal Lands to Wyoming Range 
Livestock Production, 1992. B-993. Laramie: USDA 
Cooperative Extension Service, University of Wyo- 
ming. 

Nielsen, D. B. and E. B. Wennergren. 1970. "Public 
Policy and Grazing Fees on Federal 



Lands: Some Unsolved Issues." University of Wyo- 
ming: Land and Water Law Review. Vol. V: 293- 
320. 

Obermiller, F. W. 1992. Costs Incurred by 
Permittees in Grazing Cattle on Public Land and 
Private Rangelands and Pastures in Eastern Oregon: 
1982 and 1990. Oregon State University, Coopera- 
tive Extension Service Special Report 903. 

Roberts N. K. 1963. "Economic Foundations for 
Grazing Use Fees on Public Lands." J. Farm Econ. 
45(4): 721-731. 

Rostvold, G. N. and T. J. Dudley. 1993. A Compar- 
ative Analysis of the Economic, Financial, and 
Competitive Conditions of Montana Ranches Using 
Federal Forage and Montana Ranches without 
Federal Grazing Allotments. Report to Congress and 
to the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior 
and Agriculture. Pepperdine University. 

The Society for Range Management (SRM). 1989. 
A Glossary of Terms Used in Range Management 
(Third Edition). Denver, Colorado, p. 20. 

The Society for Range Management (SRM). 1994. 
Ecological Implications of Livestock Herbivory in the 
West. Denver, Colorado, p. 297. 

Smathers, R. L., C. C. Gibson, C. W. Gray, and N. 
R. Rimbey. 1990a. "Cow-Calf Summer on Public 
Range." In 1990-91 Livestock Enterprise Budgets, 
MS 110-10. Moscow: USDA Cooperative Extension 
Service, University of Idaho. 

Smathers, R. L., R. R. Loucks, C. W. Gray, and N. 
R. Rimbey. 1990b "Cow-Calf Private Pasture and 
Public Range." In 1990-91 Livestock Enterprise 
Budgets, MS 110-7. Moscow: USDA, Cooperative 
Extension Service, University of Idaho. 

Smathers, R. L., J. J. Ney, C. W. Gray, and N. R. 
Rimbey. 1990c. "Cow-Calf Summer on Private 
Range," 1990-91 Livestock Enterprise Budgets, MS 
110-6. Moscow: USDA, Cooperative Extension 
Service, University of Idaho. 

Stam, Jerome M., Steven R. Koenig, Susan E. 
Bentley, and H. Frederick Gale, Jr. 1991. Farm 
Financial Stress, Farm Exits, and Public Sector 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 46 



Assistance to the Farm Sector in the 1980s. Washing- 
ton, D.C.: USDA Economic Research Service. 

Torell, L. A. and J. P. Doll. 1991. "Public Land 
Policy and the Value of Grazing Permits." Western 
Journal of Agricultural Economics 16 (1): 174-184. 

Torell, L. A., E. T. Bartlett, and F. W. Obermiller. 
1992. The \alue of Public Land Grazing Permits and 
the Grazing Fee Dilemma. New Mexico State Uni- 
versity Range Improvement Task Force Report 3 1 . 

Torell, L. A., and W. B. Word. 1993. Range Live- 
stock Cost and Return Estimates for New 
Mexico, 1991, Research Report 670. Las Cruces: 
Agricultural Experiment Station, New Mexico State 
University. 

Torell, L. A., L. Brence, and W. B. Word. 1994. 
The Economic Impacts to New Mexico Ranchers of 
Increasing Grazing Fees to Levels Proposed in 
Rangeland Reform '94 and by Legislative Compro- 
mise. Report 36. Las Cruces: Range Improvement 
Task Force, New Mexico State University. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant 
Health Inspection Service. 1993-1994. "CHAPA," 
Beef Cow/Calf Health and Productivity Audit, parts 
I, II, III, and IV. Washington, D.C.: USDA, Animal 
and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary 
Services, 1993-94. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricul- 
tural Statistics Service. Cattle, Mt An 2 
(2-93) and Mt An 2 (2-94), 1993-94 Washington, 
D.C.: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service and 
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land 
Management. 1993. Incentive-Based Grazing Fee 
System for Public Rangeland Administered by the 
Bureau of Land Management and United States 
Forest Service. Washington, D.C.: USDA Forest 
Service and USDI Bureau of Land Management. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the 
Census. 1993. Census of Governments. 
Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. 

Wilson, J. R., G. Marousek, and C. K. Gee. 1985. 
Economic Impacts ofBLM Grazing Policies on Idaho 



Cattle Ranchers. Research Bulletin No. 136. Mos- 
cow: Agricultural Experiment Station, University of 
Idaho. 

Workman, J. P. 1988. "Federal Grazing Fees: A 
Controversy That Won't Go Away." Rangelands 10: 
128-30. 

Workman, J. P. 1994. "Higher Federal Grazing 
Fees-Impacts on Utah Ranches." 
Rangelands 16:7-8. 

List of Preparers 

Add the following names and revisions: 

Boe, Deen E. Deputy Director, Range Management, 
Forest Service (WO). M.S., Forestry/Natural Re- 
source Administration (Michigan State University); 
B.S., Forestry /Range Management (University of 
Montana). 

Blake, Elizabeth. NEPA Coordinator, Forest Service 
(Coconino National Forest, Long Valley Ranger 
District). M.S., B.S., Forestry (Northern Arizona 
University). 

Engle, Carol. Range Conservationist, Forest Service 
(Prineville Ranger District, Ochoco National Forest). 
B.S., Range Management (Montana State Univer- 
sity). 



Favinger 
(MTSO). 

Nevada) 



Wendy. Regional Economist, BLM 
M.A., B.A., Economics (University of 



Gillam, Bertha. Director, Range Management, Forest 
Service (WO). M.S. Botany /Ecology (Montana State 
University); B.S., Botany /Biology (Montana State 
University). 

Hahn, Bill. Agricultural Economist, Economic 
Research Service, LPD. Ph.D., Agricultural Eco- 
nomics (University of California, Davis). 

Harris, Aurela "Bea." Economist, Forest Service 
(Region 3, Albuquerque, NM). Ph.D., Natural 
Resource Economics (Michigan State University); 
M.Sc, Food and Resource Economics (University of 
Florida); B.A., Accounting (Southern University). 



47 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Holder, Gary. Range Conservationist, Forest Service 
(Tonto National Forest). B.S., Range Management 
(Texas Tech University). 

Mita, Carolyn. Integrated Resource Analyst, Forest 
Service. B.S., Agriculture/Range Science (Montana 
State University). 

Olson, Eric. Attorney, USDA (WO). J.D. (Univer- 
sity of Virginia); B.S., Biology (Duke University). 

Sinclair, James R. Appraiser, BLM (COSO). M.S., 
Agricultural Economics (University of Wyoming); 
B.A., Geography (University of Northern Colorado). 

Stewart, David. Range Conservationist, Forest 
Service (WO). B.S. (University of Arizona). 

Swanson, John. Range Conservationist, Forest 
Service (Ochoco National Forest, Prineville Ranger 
District). M.S., Range Resources (University of 
Idaho); B.S., Range Management (University of 
Nevada). 

Voigt, Colin W. Environmental Analyst/Soil Scien- 
tist, BLM (WO). B.S., Agronomy (University of 
Kentucky). 

Comments and 
Responses 

Comments have been addressed if they relate to 
inadequacies or inaccuracies in the analysis or 
methodologies used; identify new impacts or recom- 
mend reasonable new alternatives or mitigation 
measures; or involve substantive disagreements or 
interpretations of significance. 

Process 

1. Comment: Although Rangeland Reform '94 
proposes to make BLM and Forest Service poli- 
cies consistent, it doesn't go far enough. Alterna- 
tives should be developed to adapt Forest Service 
policies to BLM policies. 

Response: As stated in the Purpose and Need 
section of Chapter 1, one goal of Rangeland 
Reform '94 is to make BLM and Forest Service 
rangeland management policies more consistent. 



3. 



Some BLM policies would change to be more 
like Forest Service policies and vice versa. The 
goal of such changes is to improve efficiency in 
administering rangeland grazing use, while 
requiring management practices that promote 
functional biotic communities. During the course 
of developing the alternatives for Rangeland 
Reform '94, a variety of policy changes for both 
agencies were considered and evaluated. 

Comment: The data used to justify Rangeland 
Reform '94 is considered by some to be either 
inadequate, insufficient, or too old to be useful. 
Many feel that the agencies do not have and 
likely will never have enough quantitative data to 
make assumptions about the resource conditions 
that exist at any given time and that changing 
conditions make data outdated even before it is 
used. 

The National Research Council study commis- 
sioned by the National Academy of Sciences 
reports that the conditions of rangeland health in 
the West are largely unknown. If the conditions 
are unknown, it is impossible to demonstrate a 
need for the proposed change. 

Response: The draft EIS proposes broad pro- 
grammatic decisions. Sufficient quantitative and 
qualitative information relating to rangeland 
condition to provide an adequate basis for this 
level of decision making is included in the draft 
EIS. Information came from academic reports, 
resource monitoring data, previous planning 
efforts, and the professional judgement of agency 
staff and land users. Historical data was also 
used to compare existing and past conditions and 
to identify trends in resource conditions and use. 

Field Offices would continue to collect and 
analyze site-specific data. Such data would be 
used by the field offices to assess resource needs 
and develop site-specific management actions. 

Comment: Data and references used in prepara- 
tion of the draft EIS must be made available for 
public review on the west coast before the EIS 
can be finalized. 

Response: The draft EIS, incorporated by 
reference into this document, provides a sum- 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 48 



mary of the information used and conclusions 
drawn from all of the data and literature sources 
used in the development of the draft EIS. The 
materials listed in the "References" section at the 
end of the document are merely a bibliography 
of source materials consulted. These references 
relate to 40 CFR Section 1502.24 - "Methodol- 
ogy and scientific accuracy." This section says 
"Agencies would insure the professional integ- 
rity, including scientific integrity, of the discus- 
sions and analyses in environmental impact 
statements. They would identify any methodolo- 
gies used and would make explicit reference by 
footnote to the scientific and other sources relied 
upon for conclusions in the statement. An 
agency may place discussion of methodology in 
an appendix." There is no requirement for the 
agency to make available all EIS references 
listed in a bibliography. However, these refer- 
ences have been compiled and are available for 
public inspection or review in Washington D.C. 
Many are also available through public libraries 
throughout the country. 

4. Comment: The timeframes for public input were 
too short for constructive comments. Some 
commenters felt that they were not given enough 
time to review the entire document and make 
comprehensive and detailed comments. Others 
believed that the 90-day comment period was a 
violation of due process. 

Response: We disagree. The public comment 
periods were established well in advance and are 
in accordance with Council on Environmental 
Quality regulations for implementing the Na- 
tional Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA 
requires at least 45 days for public comment on 
a draft EIS. The agencies concluded that a 90- 
day comment period was appropriate given the 
amount of information presented and the public 
interest generated by the proposals. The com- 
ment period was extended for an additional 30 
days (total 120-day comment period) to provide 
additional opportunity for public comment. 

5 . Comment: Commenters believed that the pro- 
posed action demanded access to private land. 
This is a concern because it limits private land 
value and amounts to a taking of private assets 



or values without compensation. This impact 
must be addressed in the EIS. 

Response: A Takings Implication Assessment 
was conducted which concluded that the actions 
proposed in Rangeland Reform '94 would not 
constitute a taking of private property rights. 
The rancher holding grazing permits (Executive 
Summary, page 29 and 3-70, 71) cannot recover 
from the United States for losses in ranch value 
due to modification of grazing permits. 

6. Comment: Rangeland Reform '94 ignores state 
and local mandates, and therefore the process 
should be abandoned or delayed for more con- 
formance analysis. 

Response: The agencies have considered state 
and local policies as required under the National 
Environmental Policy Act throughout their 
decision making process. The policy changes 
would be incorporated into local land use plans 
with the appropriate level of NEPA analysis and 
public involvement. The BLM's resource advi- 
sory councils would serve as a vehicle to work 
on resolving inconsistencies with state and local 
plans or mandates. 

7 . Comment: Rangeland Reform '94 will result in 
the majority of western ranches being subdi- 
vided. This will have a tremendous negative 
impact on wildlife populations. 

Response: The impact assessment in Chapter 4 
of the draft EIS addresses this concern and 
concludes that this would not happen. Subdivi- 
sion of ranches on a broad scale has not been 
observed and would not be expected to occur 
due to implementation of Rangeland Reform '94. 

8. Comment: The agencies received a wide spec- 
trum of comments outside the immediate scope of 
the Rangeland Reform '94 initiative. Some 
examples of these requests or suggestions include 
the following. 

• Transfer ownership or jurisdiction of public 
lands to private, local government, state, or 
other federal entities; 



49 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



• Consolidate public land ownership or agen- 
cies; 

• Assess the constitutional basis for public 
land ownership and the existence or authori- 
ties of the land managing agencies; 

• Research the legitimacy of BLM and the 
Forest Service to develop this initiative; 

• Explain or research a variety of existing 
laws or treaties that are not directly related 
to this initiative or public land grazing; 

• Develop legislation to require federal agen- 
cies and policies to conform to local ordi- 
nances and initiatives; 

• Repeal or amend federal laws such as the 
Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, 
the Endangered Species Act, and the Wilder- 
ness Act; 

• Develop legislation to provide federal appro- 
priations for economic stimuli to rural or 
livestock-dependent economies; 

• Redistribute grazing receipts, including the 
payment in lieu of taxes given by the United 
States to counties; 

• Provide more objectives to stabilize the 
livestock industry and rural economies; 

• Develop a variety of (nongrazing) uses of 
public lands to benefit local economies; 

• Issue regulations and standards for other 
uses of the public lands; 

• Assess the costs of managing wildlife and 
other (mainly amenity) resources of the 
public lands; 

• Establish agency policies for vegetation 
manipulation, animal control, or fire man- 
agement for grazing or other purposes; 

• Mandate management techniques or philoso- 
phies in range management or other re- 
source programs; 



9. 



• Increase the scope of the initiative to con- 
sider more geographic areas, jurisdictions, 
or public land uses; and 

• Increased savings to the Treasury via elimi- 
nation of livestock grazing, because the 
rangeland management program does not 
presently pay for itself. 

Response: Many of these requests or suggestions 
may be useful to BLM, the Forest Service, or 
other federal agencies, but they all fall outside 
the scope of this undertaking, i.e., Rangeland 
Reform '94. The intent of this initiative is de- 
scribed on page 6 of the Executive Summary as 
well as pages 1-2 and 1-3 of the draft EIS. 
Furthermore, certain issues not addressed by this 
initiative were noted on page 8 of the Executive 
Summary and pages 1-20 and 1-21 of the draft 
EIS. Versions of these recommendations require 
legislation; pose constitutional questions; expand 
the breadth of the initiative; or suggest manage- 
ment philosophies, policies, or techniques that 
are either more specific than the level of this 
initiative or relate to later planning and imple- 
mentation phases. 

Several of the comments suggested Rangeland 
Reform '94 be expanded to more of an ecosys- 
tem management approach and apply to other 
activities as well. The proposed rule deals with 
grazing regulations. It is inappropriate to deal 
with other activities not governed by grazing 
regulations in this EIS. 

Comment: This action would have significant 
monetary cumulative impacts. The draft EIS 
analysis fails to say how many A UMs would be 
reduced under the Proposed Action or discuss the 
adverse impacts of removing livestock under the 
No Grazing alternative. The Livestock Produc- 
tion alternative is a misnomer and is misleading 
because the impacts would be almost the same as 
those under Current Management. 

Response: We considered this in the draft EIS 
and reached different conclusions. The area of 
analysis is described on page 8 of the Executive 
Summary and page 1-6 of the draft EIS. The 
analysis (draft EIS page 4-38) projects that, at 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 50 



the end of 20 years, livestock forage (relates 
directly to AUMs) would be reduced by 3 per- 
cent from the current trend under the Proposed 
Action, whereas the No Grazing alternative 
would result in mixed impacts due to the re- 
moval of livestock (draft EIS page 4-108 to 4- 
123). The Livestock Production alternative 
differs in many ways from Current Management 
as shown in the charts in the Executive Summary 
(draft EIS pages 11 through 12 and 15 through 
16). The significant differences between the 
Livestock Production alternative and Current 
Management are that under Livestock Production 
(but not under Current Management), BLM 
standards and guidelines would be developed by 
permittees and grazing advisory boards; leasing 
would be allowed with no surcharge; new forage 
could be granted to good stewards; permit tenure 
would be expanded to 20 years for good stew- 
ards; authorized nonuse would be expanded up 
to five years; both BLM and Forest Service 
would allow permittees to file for water rights on 
public lands; both agencies would have expanded 
roles for grazing advisory boards; and no graz- 
ing service charge or transaction fee would be 
charged. 

10. Comment: Many commenters felt that the draft 
EIS was too broad in scope and that it should be 
abandoned or supplanted by more specific analy- 
ses. Examples of these requests include develop- 
ing a series of regional or site-specific EISs 
without Rangeland Reform '94; developing a 
network of regional, county, ranch, or allotment- 
specific EISs before adopting the policies or 
standards that result from Rangeland Reform 
'94; developing more EISs for the fee proposal 
and rulemaking; expanding the EIS to cover the 
impacts of any specific changes required by the 
rulemaking; developing specific impact mitiga- 
tion and range management measures; delaying 
Rangeland Reform '94 until more local participa- 
tion is ensured; and assigning the boundaries of 
all public lands and related grazing allotments. 

Response: We disagree. Rangeland Reform '94 
is a policy-level document. Therefore, site- or 
locality-specific assessments would be improper 
at this time. The public, including affected local 
communities, would have opportunities for input 
in developing BLM regional standards and 



guidelines, the Forest Service rangeland project 
decisions process, and activity-level plans in- 
tended to implement the initiative. During these 
later planning phases, specific management 
requirements would be considered. As part of 
these planning efforts, appropriate levels of 
environmental analysis would be required. (Also, 
see Process, Response 6.) 

1 1 . Comment: The draft EIS does not contain any 
discussion of carrying capacity. Geomorphology, 
soils, and effective moisture are all well-studied 
factors constraining carrying capacity. These 
relationships should have been used to identify 
carrying capacity and stocking rates. 

Response: This was considered in the draft EIS 
(page 4-19). The EIS analyzes impacts based on 
the functioning of riparian and upland sites as an 
indicator of carrying capacity. If the stocking 
rates exceed carrying capacity, sites would not 
function properly, or would function at risk. 

12. Comment: The analysis did not consider the 
increased cost of herding, fencing, etc, which 
will add another $5/AUM to the cost of ranch- 
ing. So the fee increase is really $7/AUM. 

Response: These costs were considered and 
summarized in the "Ranch Income and Operation 
Impacts" sections of Chapter 4 in the draft EIS. 

13. Comment: The draft EIS was developed with an 
inherent bias against public land grazing and the 
livestock industry. For example, the alternatives 
should have emphasized positive stewardship 
rather than focusing on the negative aspects of 
past grazing. The draft EIS was prepared outside 
the affected area by people with little under- 
standing of the West. The mix of people who 
prepared the draft EIS did not include all the 
needed specialists. The draft EIS ignores 
improvement in western rangeland conditions. 

Response: Livestock grazing is a valuable and 
viable use of public land. The general condition 
of public rangelands has improved as noted on 
page 5 of the Executive Summary and pages 1-2, 
1-3, and 3-26 through 3-28 of the draft EIS. 
Certain rangelands, especially in riparian areas, 
remain in a degraded condition. The broad 



51 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



spectrum of specialists who helped assemble the 
draft EIS represent more than 1,500 years of 
relevant field experience in the West. The vast 
majority of the preparers of the draft EIS were 
agency field personnel. Many of the personnel 
from Washington also have recent (within two 
years) field experience. Over 140 agency spe- 
cialists with backgrounds and training in range- 
land science, ecology, economics, wildlife 
biology, fisheries management, threatened and 
endangered species management, archeology, air 
resources, soil science, hydrology, outdoor 
recreation, sociology, realty, resource planning, 
statistics and editing participated in the develop- 
ment of the draft EIS. These specialists recog- 
nize the improvement that has occurred and the 
continued need for further improvement in 
rangeland conditions. Rangeland Reform '94 
recommends changes to build upon the positive 
aspects of existing range stewardship. 

14. Comment: Some people felt that the range of 
alternatives presented in the draft EIS is too 
limited. Suggestions included alternatives to 
increase the level of livestock grazing on public 
lands, reinitiate the Cooperative Management 
Agreements (CMA) program within BLM, and 
reflect the management philosophy of Holistic 
Resource Management (HRM). Others felt the 
alternatives do not go far enough to prevent 
unnecessary resource degradation. 

Response: The alternatives considered and 
presented in detail in the draft EIS address a 
reasonable range of options for the purpose and 
need of the proposal to move toward improved 
management of rangeland ecosystems. The 
effects analyses display the extent to which the 
alternatives meet this goal. A maximum live- 
stock production alternative was considered but 
not in detail because this alternative does not 
meet the purpose and need for Rangeland Re- 
form '94. Many components of a maximum 
livestock production alternative are incorporated 
into other alternatives that were considered in 
detail (draft EIS, page 2-42). Three other fee 
structure alternatives were also considered but 
not presented in detail (draft EIS, page 4-43). 
The EIS analyzed and presented the impacts of 
these alternatives. 



Local level planning is appropriate for decisions 
on specific management practices to prevent 
resource damage. Factors to be considered at the 
local level to meet ecosystem needs include the 
number of livestock, season and time of use, and 
other aspects of grazing management. Decisions 
to apply HRM principles and methods or in- 
crease the level of livestock use as tools to meet 
regional or forest standards and guidelines are 
best made at the landscape or ecosystem level 
rather than at the national level. 

15. Comment: Grazing fees have no relationship to 
rangeland management. Inclusion of fee alterna- 
tives detracts from the main issue, which is 
rangeland management. 

Response: Rangeland management is not the 
only purpose of Rangeland Reform '94. One of 
the primary purposes for Rangeland Reform '94 
is to provide the American public with a fair 
return for the private use of public land re- 
sources. In order to provide full disclosure of the 
impacts on the human environment resulting 
from the entire Rangeland Reform '94 proposal, 
an analysis of environmental, social and eco- 
nomic impacts of the fee alternatives combined 
with management alternatives is presented in 
Chapter 4 of the draft EIS. This analysis shows 
some effects on rangeland conditions as a result 
of changes in range betterment fund usage which 
is directly tied to the fee. (See p. 4-41 of the 
draft EIS). 

16. Comment: Combining the public participation 
process for the EIS and the proposed regulations 
on BLM and Forest Service administration of 
grazing was confusing for many people. The 
connection between proposed rules and the EIS 
is unclear. 

Response: The purpose of the agencies was to 
involve the public in developing Rangeland 
Reform '94 proposals while meeting statutory 
requirements for the rulemaking and EIS pro- 
cesses. The draft EIS and proposed rules are 
interdependent documents. The EIS analyzes the 
environmental impacts of the proposed rules. 
The proposed rules are the proposed action of 
the draft EIS. As connected actions, these docu- 
ments must be considered together during public 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 52 



comment for the intent and impacts of Rangeland 
Reform '94 to be understood fully. 

Combining the hearings and comment periods 
for the draft EIS and proposed rules helped the 
agencies to hear public concerns in a timely and 
cost-efficient manner. This procedure also 
allowed coordinated efforts by the agencies on 
any changes or re-analysis needed to respond to 
public comments. Finally, it allowed the public 
to submit one, rather than two sets of comments. 

17. Comment: The public and government agency 
involvement solicited through the public involve- 
ment phase is inadequate given the potential 
impacts and commitment of resources proposed 
by Rangeland Reform '94. Comments made by 
federal, state, and local environmental agencies 
■were not released to the public. Several federal 
agencies and state and local officials were not 
involved. In addition, the public responses 
during all phases of the input process, from 
public hearings to meetings with state and local 
groups already addressing the needs and pro- 
cesses of land management decision making, 
were not made generally available to the public. 

Response: Public participation was actively 
sought during all phases of Rangeland Reform 
'94, beginning with the scoping phase in the fall 
of 1993 and continuing through September 9, 
1994. Scoping for Rangeland Reform '94 is the 
most extensive ever undertaken by the agencies 
involved. To reach as many people as possible, 
the agencies used mailings, notices, public 
roundtable discussions, open houses, formal 
hearings, media presentations, and public presen- 
tations across the United States. In addition, the 
Secretary of the Interior and representatives from 
the Department of Agriculture and Forest Ser- 
vice visited representative states with significant 
livestock grazing on public lands to talk with 
concerned people and groups that could be 
affected by the decisions made during this pro- 
cess. 

Throughout the process, comments and ideas 
were also solicited from other federal agencies, 
field-level BLM and Forest Service staff, and 
state, county, and local government officials. All 
comments were considered; many of the changes 



reflected in the Proposed Action and subsequent 
effects analysis in the EIS reflect comments 
received throughout the process from all inter- 
ests. All comments and meeting documentation 
are part of the record of the rulemaking. The 
public may review the record by contacting the 
Washington, D.C. office of the cooperating 
agencies. This chapter of the final EIS provides 
the public with the agencies' evaluation of those 
comments on the draft EIS. 

18. Comment: The draft EIS ignores the cumulative 
impacts of other federal actions, such as threat- 
ened and endangered (T&E) species issues, 
FEMAT, PACFISH, and the cumulative effects of 
the fee increase combined with the proposed 
regulation changes which have restricted live- 
stock operations on public lands. 

Response: We disagree. Based on reasonably 
foreseeable future actions (including PACFISH, 
FEMAT, etc.), a cumulative effects analysis was 
done as required by 40 CFR 1508.7, and is 
presented in Chapter 4 of the draft EIS. The 
impact and application of the requirements of 
these federal actions varies by region, ecosys- 
tems within regions, local species, and condi- 
tions. Appendix O, "Changes in Ranch Returns 
from Reduced AUMs and Higher Grazing Fees," 
in the draft EIS describes the cumulative effects 
of management actions and increased grazing 
fees. 

19. Comment: The one percent per year reduction in 
livestock grazing assumed by the draft EIS 
cannot be based on historic trend because use 
levels have remained constant over the past 10 
years, except for minor annual fluctuations 
related to drought and market conditions. 

Response: The assumption of declining grazing 
use on federal rangelands is based on BLM 
(1992a) and Forest Service (1993a) statistical 
data summaries that show continuing, though not 
necessarily steady, declines in permitted grazing 
use. From 1982 through 1992 there was a 12% 
decrease in grazing preference levels. Drought 
and market conditions do cause minor fluctua- 
tions in use, but the draft EIS's assumption that 
grazing use would continue to decline with or 
without programmatic changes in federal range- 



53 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



land management policies and practices was 
based on local rangeland planning decisions. 

20. Comment: The EIS fails to clearly identify the 
timeframes for assessing the short- and long-term 
impacts of implementing the Rangeland Reform 
'94 initiative. 



Response: The timeframes used by the interdis- 
ciplinary team to assess the impacts of Range- 
land Reform '94 were five years for short-term 
impacts and 20 years for long-term impacts. 
These timeframes were not specifically stated in 
the text of the draft EIS but were stated in some 
tables within Chapters 2 and 4 of that document. 
This has been corrected in the final EIS (see 
Chapter 5, the section on changes to the draft 
EIS). 

21. Comment: The No Grazing alternative should 
have a 25-year phaseout period rather than the 
three-year period stated in the draft EIS on page 
2-28. This delay would reduce the immediacy of 
any adverse economic impacts to grazing lessees 
and permittees. 



standards and guidelines have been developed 
with a focus on livestock management. Under 
the Preferred Alternative, the national require- 
ments would require the BLM authorized officer 
to take action to modify or improve uses that fail 
to establish or maintain a satisfactory direction 
toward restoration of rangeland health in prop- 
erly functioning ecosystems and riparian areas. 
Inclusion of forest plan standards and guidelines 
and management requirements from rangeland 
project decisions (RPDs) as permit terms and 
conditions would be initiated by the Forest 
Service under the Preferred Alternative. This is 
designed to prevent resource degradation by 
livestock and to facilitate management within an 
ecosystem framework. 

2. Comment: The wording in the draft EIS discour- 
ages or would eliminate continuous season-long 
grazing. Failures under continuous grazing 
usually are not failures of the grazing system but 
failures of management. Regulations and stan- 
dards and guidelines can be too restrictive and 
thus not allow a manager to base management 
on local conditions and the skill of the operator. 



Response: The No Grazing Alternative was 
developed with a three-year phase-out as a 
comparison to the other alternatives. The three 
year phase-out provided a basis from which to 
analyze the environmental, economic and social 
impacts, while striving to meet the purpose and 
need described in Chapter 1 of the EIS. 

Standards and Guidelines 

1. Comment: Livestock grazing should not be 
allowed because it degrades the public lands. 

Response: We disagree. Under the Preferred 
Alternative, management programs would be 
implemented to improve ecological conditions 
while maintaining opportunities for long-term 
sustainable development. BLM standards and 
guidelines developed under the proposed criteria 
could be applied to many, if not all, uses of 
public lands, but applying the standards and 
guidelines to these other uses is beyond the 
scope of this analysis. Criteria for national 
requirements, guiding principles for state or 
regional standards and guidelines, and fallback 



Response: The Preferred Alternative would 
allow for continuous season-long grazing in 
situations where such grazing would be shown to 
establish satisfactory direction toward mainte- 
nance or restoration of rangeland health by 
means of properly functioning ecosystems and 
riparian systems. 

Comment: What ecological values would be 
protected around springs, seeps and other wa- 
ters, and associated resources as identified on 
page 2-11 paragraph 5 under minimum BLM 
state or regional guidelines ? 

Response: Values protected would include water 
quality, quantity, and availability; and aquatic 
and riparian or meadow habitats associated with 
water sources (often critical to special status 
species such as the Great Basin spring snail and 
several desert fish as well as other wildlife). The 
physical properties of these unique features and 
their interaction with the biological communities 
of western rangelands are important to help 
establish a satisfactory direction toward mainte- 
nance or restoration of rangeland health by 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 54 



means of proper functioning ecosystems. For a 
more detailed discussion of ecological values, 
see Chapter 3 of the draft EIS. 

4. Comment: BLM multiple resource advisory 
councils should be used to develop standards and 
guidelines for local areas. Any standards and 
guidelines formulated above the local level would 
not work. If monitoring shows that implemented 
standards and guidelines are not doing the job, 
then resource advisory councils should 
strengthen the local standards and guidelines. If 
agency people determine that more specific 
standards and guidelines are needed for a partic- 
ular site, they would have 6 months to develop 
them. If the specific standards and guidelines are 
not issued in that period, the area should not be 
grazed. The complete set of standards and guide- 
lines should have its own public comment period 
and final rule before the Rangeland Reform '94 
rule is published. The standards and guidelines 
should be prepared using cooperation, coordina- 
tion, and consultation with the permittees be- 
cause permittees would end up with the stan- 
dards and guidelines as terms in their allotment 
management plans. Resource advisory councils 
do not have the expertise to develop standards 
and guidelines. Professional societies such as the 
Society for Range Management should be used to 
develop standards and guidelines on either a 
national or local level. 

Response: Under the Preferred Alternative, 
regional and state standards and guidelines would 
be prepared within 18 months of the record of 
decision. If these standards and guidelines are 
not completed in the prescribed timeframe, site- 
specific management would have to comply with 
the fallback standards and guidelines. The area 
of coverage for each set of standards and guide- 
lines would typically be an entire state, although 
individual standards or guidelines may only 
apply to resources found in a portion of the 
state. The regional and state standards and 
guidelines would be developed by BLM interdis- 
ciplinary teams in close cooperation with re- 
source advisory councils and other interested 
parties. In most regions and states, standards and 
guidelines are currently in place for various 
activities such as logging; those standards, 
guidelines, stipulations, terms and conditions 



have already been through the NEPA process. 
Future resource management goals and the 
standards and guidelines to attain them would be 
developed in close coordination with resource 
advisory councils. The resource objectives found 
within resource management plans and activity 
plans would have to comply with applicable 
standards and guidelines. As provided by the 
Preferred Alternative, resource advisory councils 
could use technical input from a variety of 
people to develop their recommendations to the 
BLM. These individuals would be people knowl- 
edgeable of issues and could include agency 
specialists and members from academia and 
professional societies. 

Comment: National standards and guidelines, 
coupled with a review of livestock grazing im- 
pacts, are the guts of Rangeland Reform '94. 
The direction is needed now rather than 18 
months from the final regulations. The 18-month 
fallback standards are weak and do not even 
require that state standards be as strong as the 
fallbacks. The entire idea of state-based stan- 
dards and guidelines serves to maintain the 
status quo. State or local standards should add 
to rather than modify the national requirements. 
Phasing in new standards and guidelines with 
permit renewal is not acceptable from a biologi- 
cal approach because some degraded areas 
would not be considered for corrective action for 
years. Standards and guidelines set differently by 
BLM state offices could be a source of confusion 
and would tend to put pressure on the Depart- 
ment of the Interior to settle for the lowest 
common denominator. Strong and explicit na- 
tional standards and guidelines should be in 
place for all rangelands, and each BLM state 
director should have to meet or exceed these 
standards and guidelines. 

BLM should be required to review current man- 
agement practices to determine whether they 
comply with either the state or national stan- 
dards and guidelines or the national require- 
ments. The 18 month kick-in provisions of the 
draconian fallback standards and guidelines 
invite suits by those who seek the severe provi- 
sions of the fallback plans. Eighteen months is 
too short for standards and guidelines implemen- 
tation because of the need to first establish 



55 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



resource advisory councils. The implementation 
period should be extended to 24 months. Con- 
crete national minimum standards and guidelines 
need to be restored to the proposed rules. They 
would ensure consistent ecosystem-sensitive 
management. Regional standards and guidelines 
would allow wide discrepancies across BLM 
lands with respect to ecosystem protection. The 
national requirements as written are not suffi- 
cient. 

Response: The intent of developing regional and 
state standards and guidelines is to tailor the 
standards and guidelines to fit regionally specific 
ecological variations and local livestock manage- 
ment practices that have evolved. The up to 18- 
month delay in implementing standards and 
guidelines would not result in significant envi- 
ronmental effects. Having the public involved 
would aid the agency in developing sound stan- 
dards and guidelines. The prescribed timeframe 
for preparing state or regional standards and 
guidelines is an ambitious but realistic one. A 
significant amount of research and field experi- 
ence about regional guidelines and practices 
already exist; as a result, the development of 
regional or state guidelines should be possible in 
a relatively short time. Western universities have 
been conducting research and management 
applications for livestock grazing practices, and 
agency offices have been developing manage- 
ment objectives, both of which would form the 
foundation for the guidelines needed for ecosys- 
tem management. 

The regional and state standards and guidelines 
must at least meet all national requirements and 
the guiding principles for standards and guide- 
lines. These standards and guidelines or, in their 
absence, fallback standards and guidelines, 
would be incorporated into conditions of permits 
on a regional and state basis. A review of cur- 
rent rangeland management practices would be 
completed to assure compliance with national 
requirements and applicable standards and 
guidelines. 

Corrective actions directed at solving site-spe- 
cific resource problems would not be deferred to 
the expiration of the permit. Following sched- 
uled assessments, or anytime when problems are 



recognized, permits would be modified by the 
next grazing year to incorporate actions needed 
to begin the process of restoring healthy, prop- 
erly functioning conditions. 

6. Comment: The draft EIS implies that grazing has 
the same generic problems across the board and 
ignores a main tenet of proper grazing, which is 
"the proper timing and duration of use as relat- 
ing to ecological and climatical conditions. " One 
might assume that grazing benefits rather than 
harms all resources. 

Response: The BLM rationale for implementing 
regional and state standards and guidelines is that 
ecological processes vary significantly between 
ecological regions. Proper livestock grazing 
management can be effective in attaining ecolog- 
ically based objectives. Improper livestock 
grazing management has been shown to be a 
causative agent in the deterioration of rangeland 
or riparian conditions. The draft EIS recognized 
this throughout the assessment of impacts. 

7. Comment: The BLM's national requirements 
should be broadened to include the perspective of 
watershed function because the ecological health 
of a watershed depends on upland and instream, 
as well as riparian components. Even a healthy 
riparian area may not be able to filter all the 
sediment from poorly vegetated uplands with 
erodible soils. 

Response: The BLM national requirements have 
been clarified to specifically recognize the 
importance of watersheds. The Preferred Alter- 
native has been modified to clarify that all 
components of a watershed affect rangeland 
health. 

8. Comment: Desired plant community (DPC) 
concepts are highly desirable and useful. DPC 
should be a guideline above the allotment man- 
agement plan (AMP) level and a major part of 
the standards at the AMP level once appropriate 
and achievable objectives have been defined. 
DPC should be a cornerstone of objectives and 
standards in the AMP, which should be devel- 
oped at the local level for every range site on the 
allotment. Progress and trend should be mea- 
sured by progress toward or away from the 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 56 



DPC. DPC concepts are flawed, and the agen- 
cies should focus more on a Natural Plant Com- 
munity concept. Standards above the AMP level 
lead managers into a "cookbook" approach, 
which does not allow the flexibility for site- 
specific conditions. All direction above the AMP 
level should be called guidelines, but these 
guidelines should not include most of the infor- 
mation suggested in the draft EIS. Standards that 
are not developed at the local level on a site- 
specific basis violate a fundamental tenet of 
ecology, the limiting factor concept. 

Response: The BLM believes that desired plant 
community (DPC) concepts are useful. BLM 
intends to use DPC concepts as an important tool 
in developing site-specific vegetation objectives 
that include native plant species. National re- 
quirements and regional or state standards and 
guidelines would serve as the basis for managing 
rangelands, developing site-specific actions 
establishing resource objectives, including DPCs 
and developing permit and lease terms and 
conditions at the local level. These requirements, 
standards, and guidelines would be developed in 
cooperation and coordination with resource 
advisory councils and other interested parties. 
Allotment management plans and other activity 
plans provide ideal opportunities to develop site- 
specific requirements; however, AMPs have not 
and may never be developed for all BLM allot- 
ments. The use of state or regional standards and 
guidelines does not mean that the terms and 
conditions of permits and leases are developed 
without consideration of local conditions. See 
Vegetation Zones, Response 7. 

9. Comment: The requirement for "reproduction" 
and "maintenance of different age classes" 
should not apply to herbaceous plants because 
sexual reproduction seldom is necessary and it is 
impossible to tell if you actually have "different 
age classes. " 

Response: Both sexual and asexual reproduction 
(e.g., stolons and tillers), as appropriate, are 
evaluated in the rangeland health evaluation 
process. Sexual reproduction is important in 
some ecosystems where plants do not reproduce 
vegetatively. Age class determinations are typi- 
cally applied only to shrubs. See Standards and 



Guidelines, Response 15. 

10. Comment: The assumption that "the least 
amount of utilization is best " is seldom valid. 
Utilization limits should be correlated with 
measured trend before they are applied too 
rigidly. Publications by Heady and Child and 
Sharp, Sanders, and Rimby, WRCC-40, and 
virtually all range scientists in research organi- 
zations and universities deplore the sole use of 
utilization data to set stocking rates. Utilization 
limits should not be used as standards and 
guidelines at any level. 

Response: Utilization studies in combination 
with actual use, climate, and trend studies (if 
available) are all used to adjust stocking rates. 
Limiting utilization gives ecosystems sufficient 
vegetative material to meet the physical require- 
ments of watersheds. Plant community structure 
and total biomass are more critical to functioning 
condition than the species or community compo- 
sition measured in trend studies. No assumption 
that the least amount of utilization is "best" was 
made in the draft EIS. 

1 1 . Comment: Photosynthesis occurs throughout the 
growing season. The photosynthesis requirement 
is unworkable because there is no way to deter- 
mine if it is being met. It is unscientific because 
the time of photosynthesis during the growing 
season depends entirely on soil moisture. Lack of 
photosynthesis is not necessarily a sign of poor 
health. This concept should not be incorporated 
into the standards and guidelines at any level. 

Response: A comparison between the period that 
plants photosynthesize on reference areas and on 
assessment areas accounts for the effects of soil 
moisture during the period that plants are green 
and actively growing. The practical use of 
measurements of photosynthetic activity would 
depend greatly on the comparison between the 
site being assessed and the reference site. This 
indicator would be applied by the BLM to 
compare differences in length of the photosyn- 
thesis period between species, not differences in 
a plant's photosynthesis period due to drought 
effects on a single species. For example, 
cheatgrass, an alien annual grass, has a shorter 



57 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



period of photosynthesis than native 
bunchgrasses in the Great Basin Desert. 

12. Comment: Rooting throughout the available soil 
profile may be a good indicator of rangeland 
health, but it would require digging soil pits and 
mapping the roots. Rooting should not be used 
as a standard at any level because it would be 
misused. 

Response: Assessments of degree of rooting 
throughout the soil profile can be determined by 
comparing the proportion of plant lifeforms in a 
reference area to the area being evaluated. If the 
proportions of grasses/forbs/shrubs are roughly 
similar between the two areas, it is inferred that 
the soil profile has adequate root distribution. 

13. Comment: The BLM proposal calls for reducing 
grazing use without requiring 5 years of monitor- 
ing data, and permits such changes without 
regard to the quality or type of data. Because 
empirically documented information or scientific 
studies would not be needed, BLM officials 
would have too much broad, undefined power in 
their hands. 

Response: The Preferred Alternative does not 
call for specific reductions in grazing use. Any 
reductions would be based on documented 
assessments of functioning condition. The Pre- 
ferred Alternative recognizes that there are other 
methods in addition to extended monitoring, to 
determine a need for action. A major factor in 
achieving the improvements in rangeland health 
identified in the draft EIS is responsible, timely 
action once problems have been identified. To 
require extended monitoring prior to initiating 
the corrective action would greatly reduce the 
benefits of the Preferred Alternative. Well 
documented monitoring information would 
certainly be required to provide support and 
rationale for resource decisions affecting grazing 
on the public land. Assessment of functioning 
conditions for riparian systems has been devel- 
oped on the basis of scientifically sound princi- 
ples delineated in the following Technical Refer- 
ences developed by the BLM: TR 1737-9 - 
Process for Assessing Proper Functioning Condi- 
tion, and TR 1737-11 - Process for Assessing 
Proper Functioning Condition for Lentic 



Riparian- Wetland Areas. Assessment processes 
are being developed for upland systems, which 
would result in significant efficiencies in the 
agencies' ability to cooperatively implement 
management that deals with improving rangeland 
health. 

14. Comment: Plants display "normal growth forms 
and vigor. " The growth form of herbaceous 
plants and vigor are very arbitrary and subjec- 
tive because they cannot be measured. "Normal " 
growth forms are not necessarily correlated with 
anything either good or bad. "Instantaneous 
trend" measures do not work and should not be 
used as a standard or guideline at any level. 
Shrub growth form can be an indicator of past 
use. 

Response: The vigor and growth forms of plants 
are acceptable indicators if the observer com- 
pares the condition of plants on site relative to 
similar species in a nearby reference area or 
with protected plants on the sites being evalu- 
ated. Vigor is best presented by plant height, 
seedstalk production, or biomass production 
relative to plants that are protected from grazing 
impacts from herbivores. 

15. Comment: Plant communities display a "com- 
plete range of age classes. " This concept is 
without any scientific basis or merit. The range 
of age classes for herbaceous plants simply 
cannot be determined and means little or nothing 
in terms of health. Note: The age class of woody 
plants may be meaningful. 

Response: Use of this indicator is directed only 
towards shrubs in the range health assessment 
procedure. Except for seedlings of grasses and 
forbs, determining the age of herbaceous plants 
is very difficult . 

16. Comment: The Forest Service should adopt 
national grazing reform goals and standards 
similar to those proposed by BLM. Standard and 
guideline issues should not be left to general 
forest planning. A vague reference was given in 
the draft EIS on page 2-9 that states the Forest 
Service develops standards and guidelines for 
forest plans and that these would be made condi- 
tions of grazing permits. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 58 



Response: Forest Plans provide for the develop- 
ment of standards and guidelines at the national 
forest level. The Forest Service's position is that 
standards and guidelines would continue to be 
developed at the forest level. Monitoring is 
scheduled in forest plans to evaluate the imple- 
mentation, effectiveness, and validity of forest 
plan standards and guidelines. Forest plans can 
be amended to modify standards and guidelines 
in response to monitoring results. Monitoring 
results would be considered when revising forest 
plans. Forest plan standards and guidelines can 
be refined or strengthened as a result of site- 
specific landscape analysis and NEPA documen- 
tation in the course of preparing rangeland 
project decisions. 

17. Comment: Standards and guidelines cannot be 
developed outside of the standard planning 
process. The draft EIS implies that BLM's stan- 
dards and guidelines would be developed outside 
the routine resource management plan (RMP) 
process and may not be compatible with the 
RMP. There is no assurance that the RMP would 
be amended/changed to incorporate the new 
standards and guidelines. Not incorporating 
these standards and guidelines in the RMP would 
violate the Federal Land Policy and Management 
Act. BLM should adopt the Forest Service plan- 
ning process. The standards and guidelines, once 
compatible with the RMP, should be stipulations 
to the grazing permit, and the livestock operator 
should have to accept them. 

Response: The Rangeland Reform '94 draft EIS 
is a national programmatic EIS. The EIS serves 
as the NEPA analysis for the national regulatory 
and policy changes, including national require- 
ments and guiding principles for the regional or 
state standards and guidelines and the fallback 
standards and guidelines. State or regional 
standards and guidelines or other implementing 
actions would be subject to the proper level of 
NEPA analysis. Additional NEPA compliance 
would tier to the analysis of the national regula- 
tions and policy presented in the EIS and would 
be at the proper level (i.e. none, categorical 
exclusion, environmental assessment, or environ- 
mental impact statement, adopting other NEPA 
work, etc.), depending on plan conformance 



determinations and previous NEPA work. 
Standards and guidelines not conforming to 
existing land use plans would require plan 
amendments with appropriate NEPA documenta- 
tion. 

18. Comment: What is the Forest Service definition 
of "meeting or moving towards forest plan 
objectives. " 

Response: Goals and objectives are established 
in forest plans. These goals and objectives 
describe the desired future condition of the 
resources on a landscape scale. Desired future 
condition of resources is based on ecological, 
social, and economic factors considered during 
the land and resource management planning 
process. Desired future condition of rangelands 
is typically expressed as ecological status or 
management status of vegetation (species compo- 
sition, habitat diversity, age and size classes of 
species) and desired soil qualities (condition of 
soil cover, erosion, compaction, soil productiv- 
ity, etc.). 

If an area is determined currently to be at the 
desired future condition, then it is meeting forest 
plan objectives. If an area is not currently at the 
desired future condition but resource trends are 
in the direction of that condition, then the area is 
moving toward forest plan objectives. Trend in 
rangeland vegetation and soil quality is moni- 
tored to determine whether the trend is not 
apparent, moving toward, or moving away from 
desired future condition. Methods for determin- 
ing trend are well established and have been 
used by rangeland managers for many years. 

19. Comment: There are no known ways to easily 
determine distribution of nutrients in either time 
or space. How can BLM standards be written to 
determine if cycling is taking place? 

Response: The ability of ecosystems to cycle 
nutrients and energy is denoted by indirect 
indicators that can be observed. The presence of 
organic matter, nitrogen-fixing plants and 
cryptobiotic crust (relative to site capability) are 
indicators that can be used to qualitatively evalu- 
ate nutrient cycling. Length and distribution of 
the period that plants are active (photosynthesis 



59 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



period) relative to a reference area is an indica- 
tion of the status of a system's energy flow. 
Through the use of these kinds of indicators, an 
ecosystem's health can be qualitatively assessed. 

20. Comment: The BLM's "recovery mechanism" 
requirements would be used as a club by envi- 
ronmental organizations to state that perfectly 
"healthy" range ecosystems are unhealthy be- 
cause of the lack of seedlings and other recovery 
mechanisms. These requirements would be used 
to reduce stocking rates or completely remove 
livestock. A community in high serai status will 
generally be a closed community, and young 
plants cannot survive in this type of environment. 

Response: The "recovery mechanism" require- 
ment has been modified from the initial proposal 
for developing rangeland health assessment 
procedures. Recruiting new individuals in the 
plant community is tempered by the qualifier that 
recruitment occurs when conditions are favor- 
able. This approach lets the evaluator consider 
poor climatic conditions or closed plant commu- 
nities in evaluating the absence of recruitment 
opportunities. This change does not affect the 
analysis of environmental effects because it does 
not alter the focus on managing for healthy 
rangelands. 

21. Comment: The final EIS should address issues 
raised by the National Research Council report 
entitled "Rangeland Health ". The report uses a 
soil-based classification rather than a climax 
vegetation system. 

Response: The ecological site classification 
system used by BLM is a soil-based vegetation 
classification system. The National Research 
Council report "Rangeland Health" was used in 
preparing the draft EIS. 

22. Comment: The draft EIS implies that the 
PACFISH decisions on management practices 
have been made. 

Response: Management of anadromous fish and 
their habitats and livestock grazing standards and 
guidelines under the proposed PACFISH strat- 
egy, an ecosystem based aquatic habitat and 
riparian area management strategy for Pacific 



salmon, steelhead, and sea-run cutthroat trout, 
on lands administered by the Forest Service and 
BLM, and the Upper Columbia Basin planning 
projects are considered through separate analy- 
ses. These projects are consistent with the na- 
tional requirements and guiding principles, 
fallback standards and guidelines described for 
the Preferred Alternative of the Rangeland 
Reform '94 EIS. 

23 . Comment: The provisions discussed under the 
BLM's national requirements now require that 
grazing practices meet state water quality stan- 
dards and ensure maintenance and restoration of 
habitat for listed species only "to the extent 
practicable. " This phrase should deleted from the 
final EIS. National and regional/state guidelines 
should be changed to state that practices would 
"result in " or "will ensure " instead of "to assist 
" in recovery of special status species or "to 
assist " in meeting water quality standards. 

Response: The phrase "to the extent practicable" 
has been removed from the national require- 
ments narrative as suggested in the comment. 
The intent of the qualifying term was to recog- 
nize that some grazing management may have 
little if any effect on threatened or endangered 
species or the achievement of certain water 
quality standards. It was not a suggestion that 
statutory requirements of the ESA or the Clean 
Water Act (CWA) be ignored or that efforts to 
benefit threatened or endangered species, and 
water quality be reduced to benefit livestock 
operations. The focus on landscapes and water- 
sheds by the standards and guidelines will im- 
prove the agency's ability to develop objectives 
that will assure that CWA requirements will be 
meet. 

24. Comment: By adding criteria relating to age 
class distribution, plant vigor, community struc- 
ture, etc., the National Research Council proce- 
dures confuse the concepts of "sustainability" 
with desired plant community. 

Response: The National Research Council 
procedures were not incorporated verbatim into 
the Proposed Action; however, they were cer- 
tainly considered in the preparation of the draft 
EIS; particularly with respect to the development 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 60 



of the national requirements and guiding princi- 
ples. The Preferred Alternative would provide a 
basis to establish a satisfactory direction toward 
maintenance and restoration of rangeland health. 
Age class distribution and plant vigor are indica- 
tors relating to sustainability of the community 
and are consistent with the desired plant commu- 
nity concepts. 

25. Comment: Page 2-12 of the draft EIS lists nine 
BLM standards to which grazing activities must 
conform. The first eight essentially repeat guide- 
lines on page 2-11. These specific standards 
(page 2-12) should be dropped. Specific stan- 
dards should be developed to meet specific 
management objectives at the local level. Item 9 
on page 2-12 should be moved to page 2-11 and 
modified to read "Allotment management 
plans... would specify desired plant communities 
that would meet management objectives estab- 
lished for both uplands and riparian ecosystems. 
Management objectives should be consistent with 
national policy and legal requirements, including 
those for sustainable multiple use, and those 
providing for public input and consideration of 
local needs and property values. " 

Response: The draft EIS on page 2-11 lists 
guiding principles to be followed in developing 
regional or state standards and guidelines. These 
principles have been modified to reflect public 
comment and to focus more clearly on abiotic 
and biotic processes of the ecosystem. The 
guidelines on page 2-12 of the draft EIS have 
been dropped as recommended. Fallback stan- 
dards are listed for implementation in the ab- 
sence of regional or state standards and guide- 
lines after a prescribed period. BLM intends to 
have regional or state standards and guidelines in 
place and implemented within 18 months of the 
record of decision. These standards and guide- 
lines would be developed with input from the 
resource advisory councils (RACs), public land 
users and other interested members of the public 
at the local level. Item 9 on page 2-12 of the 
draft EIS has also been dropped and replaced 
with fallback standards and guidelines as stated 
above. 

26. Comment: The BLM's ecosystem-based standards 
and guidelines must meet provisions of the Clean 



Water Act and Endangered Species Act. Imple- 
menting grazing practices to restore water qual- 
ity may take longer than the start of the next 
grazing year. The draft EIS fails to state what 
priority would be given to water uses that benefit 
people who live in the watershed. Grazing by 
large herbivores has always been part of the 
biologic complex of natural rangelands and is 
environmentally compatible with reasonable 
water quality standards. Many western streams 
cannot meet state water quality standards be- 
cause of the parent material in the watershed. 
Improperly built and maintained roads often 
contribute massive amounts of sediment to a 
stream. Permittees have no control or authority 
over these situations. 

Response: Regional or state standards and 
guidelines would be developed and must at least 
comply with the national requirements and the 
guiding principles for the development of the 
standards and guidelines. 

The draft EIS is national and programmatic in 
scope and does not address local priorities. To 
be effective, the prioritization process must be 
implemented locally. Cause and effect relation- 
ships, such as the effect of parent material on 
water quality, would be analyzed on a site- 
specific basis before addressing any resource 
problem. 

Water quality standards developed by the states 
usually consider the natural community, includ- 
ing biotic and abiotic components of the water- 
shed. 

27. Comment: The exact methodology that BLM 
would use to determine rangeland categories was 
not discussed in the draft EIS. 

Response: A riparian functioning condition 
inventory would use the methodology outlined in 
BLM Technical Reference 1737-9 - Process for 
Assessing Proper Functioning Condition. BLM 
Technical Reference 1737-11 - Process for 
Assessing Proper Functioning Condition for 
Lentic Riparian-Wetland Areas will also be used. 
A methodology for qualitative assessment for 
uplands is presently being developed by an 
interdisciplinary, interagencywork groupp con- 



61 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



sisting of members from the Forest Service, Soil 
Conservation Service, BLM, Agricultural Re- 
search Service, Environmental Protection 
Agency, Agricultural Extension Service, Na- 
tional Biological Survey, and the Society for 
Range Management. Additionally, BLM has 
access to a wide range of methods to assess the 
condition of the public rangelands, such as 
Ecological Site Inventory. Appendix 1 outlines 
the biological methodologies used in the develop- 
ment of the draft EIS. 

28. Comment: The draft EIS (page 4-49) states that 
BLM national and regional standards and guide- 
lines would benefit ecological conditions. No 
credible basis is presented for this statement. 
Ecological conditions are not specified. The draft 
EIS states that the standards and guidelines 
emphasize principles of ecosystem management 
and improvement of biological diversity but 
offers no explanation of how. No link has been 
established between standards and guidelines and 
either ecosystem management or biological 
diversity except to say that the Endangered 
Species Act would be obeyed. 

Response: We disagree. The Preferred Alterna- 
tive provides national requirements and guiding 
principles for regional and state standards and 
guidelines that are based not only on federal 
legislation but also on ecologically sound princi- 
ples. The national requirements have been more 
clearly defined for the final EIS. Ecological 
processes that are monitored to assess and 
improve rangeland health include the hydrologic 
cycle, nutrient cycle, and energy flow. The 
national requirements have been clarified so that 
public rangeland management would focus on 
the health of the ecosystems. 

29. Comment: The draft EIS on page 2-9 suggests 
that national standards would apply where no 
forest plan has been prepared or where the forest 
plan lacks standards and guidelines for livestock 
grazing and no project decision has been made. 

Response: The Forest Service is not proposing 
to implement national standards and guidelines. 
The Forest Service develops standards and 
guidelines in the forest planning process. Forest 
plans can be amended to incorporate standards 



and guidelines for livestock grazing if suitable 
standards and guidelines are lacking. Manage- 
ment requirements would be documented in the 
rangeland project decision and incorporated as 
terms and conditions of the term grazing permit. 
The rangeland project decision and resulting 
permit terms and conditions must comply with 
the goals, objectives, standards, and guidelines 
in the forest plan. 

30. Comment: Develop minimum uniform standards 
and guidelines that are scientifically sound, 
measurable, and enforceable. If standards and 
guidelines are not met, then management 
changes in the grazing allotment must be made 
before the start of the next grazing season. 
Ecological health should be a main goal of 
rangeland management. The criterion to evaluate 
rangeland management should be based on 
sound ecological science by professional biolo- 
gists and ecologists who would determine the 
rangeland conditions . The final EIS should 
clearly state that standards and guidelines must 
ensure restoration and maintenance of proper 
functioning condition for riparian, stream chan- 
nels, uplands, and ecosystems. Without national 
standards and guidelines, BLM state directors 
would be able to change the vague rules to fit 
"old" local "needs. " The state directors would 
not be able to withstand the pressure of local 
cattle interests. The emphasis on national or 
regional standards and guidelines thwarts local 
decision making and public input processes. 

Response: The proposed BLM national require- 
ments and the guiding principles for standards 
and guidelines and the state or regional standards 
and guidelines are and would be scientifically 
sound, measurable, and enforceable. A national 
effort has been underway to develop scientifi- 
cally sound methods for assessment of health and 
function of rangeland ecosystems. Close coordi- 
nation has taken place among representatives of 
the National Biological Survey, Environmental 
Protection Agency, Forest Service, Soil Conser- 
vation Service, Agricultural Research Service, 
and Agricultural Extension Service in developing 
standards and guidelines. 

BLM regional or state standards and guidelines 
would be developed, at a minimum, to meet the 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 62 



national requirements, which call for maintaining 
or achieving healthy, properly functioning range- 
land ecosystems, including riparian systems. 
These standards and guidelines would be devel- 
oped in cooperation and coordination with 
resource advisory councils and other interested 
members of the public. 

Functional status of rangelands on a large scale 
is not measurable but can be determined on a 
more localized scale by experienced, knowledge- 
able interdisciplinary teams applying the guide- 
lines. The Preferred Alternative specifies that 
where use does not conform to national require- 
ments and standards and guidelines, the autho- 
rized officer would take appropriate action to 
begin the process of restoring healthy, properly 
functioning rangeland conditions before the start 
of the next grazing use period. The BLM does 
not intend to abdicate its authority to meet 
national requirements and to develop and enforce 
applicable regional or state standards and guide- 
lines. The focus of standards and guidelines 
developed at any level would be to maintain or 
restore rangeland ecosystems in proper function- 
ing condition. 

31. Comment: The criteria for local rangeland 
health standards focus only on soil factors. The 
Preferred Alternative should also address the 
degree to which viable populations of native 
plants, animals, and fish species are being 
maintained. More guidelines should be added to 
achieve or maintain a specified ecological status 
for identified range sites. All sites should have a 
stable or upward trend in soil or vegetation. The 
fallback health standards ignore the health of 
native plant, animal, and fish species. Another 
standard should be added: "Native plants, ani- 
mals, and fish are not being lost either directly 
or indirectly as a result of livestock grazing. " 

Response: The regional or state standards and 
guidelines must conform to national requirements 
in the Preferred Alternative and to the guiding 
principles for standards and guidelines. 

BLM's assessment process for evaluating range- 
land health emphasizes the physical environment, 
i.e. soils and the biotic environment (plants). 
This assessment process assumes that if ecologi- 



cal processes (nutrient cycle, energy flow, and 
hydrologic cycle) and plant community dynamics 
are functioning properly, then native faunal 
populations would be maintained or improved. 

The degree to which viable populations of plants 
and animals are maintained is typically a local 
land use plan decision; however, in some in- 
stances it may be appropriate for state or re- 
gional standards and guidelines to address these 
concepts. 

Managing for a specified ecological condition 
class does not give managers the flexibility to 
meet land use plan objectives. Because multiple 
plant communities may exist within a given 
ecological condition class, specificity is needed 
to identify and describe which plant community, 
the desired plant community, would best meet 
management objectives. 

The invasion of noxious weeds on relatively 
undisturbed sites precludes managing some sites 
for stable or upward trend. 

32. Comment: The BLM's function and health 
standards must be achievable. Some of the 
standards /requirements in the draft EIS cannot 
be met in many areas with naturally undeveloped 
soils, or they are either without scientific merit 
or cannot be measured. Clear definitions of 
healthy rangelands are needed before guidelines 
can be developed. 

Response: The BLM intends to have function 
and health standards that are measurable and 
achievable. The Preferred Alternative provides 
for situations in which each and every indicator 
of rangeland health need not be met on a given 
specific site in order to be considered as meeting 
the standard. Compliance with applicable stan- 
dards would be based on the preponderance of 
evidence derived from the on site assessments. 

Definitions used are presented in the Glossary in 
the draft EIS. Rangeland health has been ad- 
dressed under ecological status and the defini- 
tions of properly functioning condition for 
uplands and riparian systems. Soil surveys, 
ecological site descriptions, and other informa- 
tion should be used, or completed if they do not 



63 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



exist, to determine site potential in terms of 
desired plant communities and natural soil 
erosion characteristics. Subpart 4180 of the 
grazing regulations has been amended to estab- 
lish criteria for developing standards that focus 
on the functions and processes needed to estab- 
lish a satisfactory direction toward maintenance 
or restoration of healthy, properly functioning 
rangeland ecosystems. This focus allows the 
development of regional or state standards that 
are tailored to regional or local ecosystems and 
resource conditions. 

33. Comment: The current BLM criteria for stan- 
dards and guidelines are inadequate because 
they focus on criteria for livestock management 
and fail to address the need to establish criteria 
for healthy ecosystems. The standards mentioned 
in the draft EIS on page 2-11 are either without 
scientific merit or cannot be measured. The 
proposed national requirements and standards 
and guidelines contradict human welfare public 
policy objectives in existing statutes. 

Response: The guiding principles for standards 
and guidelines have strong ecosystem health 
criteria for both riparian areas and uplands. 
These criteria are based on good science. "The 
purpose of Rangeland Reform '94 is to carry out 
a rangeland management program that improves 
ecological conditions, while providing for sus- 
tainable development" (Executive Summary of 
the draft EIS, page 6, paragraph 1). Standards 
and guidelines developed using the proposed 
criteria could be applied to many if not all uses 
of public lands, but applying the standards and 
guidelines to these other uses is beyond the 
scope of this EIS. Therefore, relative to the 
purpose and need for this EIS, the criteria for 
developing regional standards and guidelines and 
the national requirements and guiding principles 
for standards and guidelines have been developed 
with a focus on livestock management. 

State or regional standards and guidelines would 
be developed to consider existing data, studies, 
and information. Rangeland monitoring, includ- 
ing health assessment, would continue, and new 
data would be analyzed to assess the effective- 
ness of actions implemented under the standards 
and guidelines. 



Ecological succession is a process of a healthy, 
functioning ecosystem, not an effect. As dis- 
cussed in the draft EIS, structural diversity and 
plant and animal composition would vary with 
successional changes. 

34. Comment: Pesticide policy and the terms and 
conditions provisions included in points six and 
seven in the standards and guidelines section of 
Alternative 4, Environmental Enhancement, need 
to be addressed as part of the Preferred Alterna- 
tive in the final EIS. 

Response: Pesticide policy provisions referenced 
above are not directly included in the national 
requirements and guiding principles in the Pro- 
posed Action because the agencies already have 
adequate regulations and policy to deal with 
concerns in this area. The terms and conditions 
provisions in the Environmental Enhancement 
Alternative are essentially the same as those 
identified in the Preferred Alternative. 

35. Comment: The animal unit month (AUM) data 
provided is merely that which existed in 1991 
and 1992 on public land. This information is not 
the same as the actual carrying capacity in 
AUMs. Since the draft EIS did not establish a 
correlation or relationship between actual A UMs 
sold and the actual carrying capacity of the 
public range, how can the agencies make conclu- 
sions about how the vegetation communities 
would respond to the specified changes in AUMs 
for each alternative? 

Response: Changes in management practices and 
AUM levels were considered in making projec- 
tions of changes in vegetation. Carrying capacity 
does not necessarily equate to proper functioning 
condition or healthy rangelands. An area in less 
than the desired condition may be properly 
stocked to maintain that level and at an appropri- 
ate level per the grazing regulations, but may not 
be able to progress to proper functioning condi- 
tion without management change and/or stocking 
rate change. 

Carrying capacity is routinely evaluated and 
adjusted as required to achieve the desired 
multiple use objectives for the public lands. The 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 64 



actual AUMs grazed each year may differ from 
the grazing preference or carrying capacity but 
should not exceed the identified carrying capac- 
ity of the land. 

Conflicts with carrying capacity occur when field 
office staffs are unable to conduct routine evalu- 
ations of grazing permits as desired. Work 
efforts are prioritized and funds and labor efforts 
are channeled towards the highest priorities. 
Rangeland Reform '94 is designed to improve 
the efficiency and effectiveness of completing 
these assessments and to expedite the resolution 
of conflicts with grazing use where they occur. 
See Process, Response 11. 

36. Comment: Voluntary conservation efforts rather 
than mandatory methods are more beneficial for 
the sound management of our natural resources. 
The rancher should receive any increased forage 
that results from his range stewardship. 

Response: Grazing public lands is an authorized 
use and the permittee is granted the privilege to 
graze within specified limits, including terms and 
conditions directed at conservation of the re- 
source. Allocation of forage increases would be 
directed by the land use plans and applicable 
standards and guidelines. Voluntary conservation 
is promoted in the Preferred Alternative in the 
form of conservation use, permit terms and 
conditions, allotment management plan flexibil- 
ity, etc., and likely would be further supported 
through the criteria being developed to qualify 
for the incentive fee reduction. 

37. Comment: Erosion should not exceed historic 
levels of geologic erosion. 

Response: The proposed national requirements 
and the guiding principles for standards and 
guidelines are intended in part to address this 
concern. Evidence of excessive erosion would 
indicate a less than proper functioning condition 
status. 



Suitability 



1. Comment: Can healthy, diverse, sustainable 
rangeland ecosystems ever coexist with livestock 



grazing? Livestock are not a natural part of 
these ecosystems. 

Response: Although livestock are not a natural 
part of western ecosystems, proper livestock 
grazing can be compatible with healthy, diverse, 
and sustainable ecosystems in most cases. 

2. Comment: The Preferred Alternative needs 
stronger provisions to protect fragile rang elands, 
such as the hot desert. 

Response: The BLM state or regional standards 
and guidelines would more specifically address 
guidelines for managing individual fragile range- 
lands. Management within an ecosystem frame- 
work would further address this need. 

3 . Comment: Livestock should not have access to 
live natural water in desert lands. They should 
be allowed to use only well water. 

Response: The standards and guidelines would 
provide management guidelines for water 
sources to ensure that the biological integrity, 
including water quality and riparian vegetation, 
is maintained. Often, the relevant issue is the 
degree of use, not strictly the use of the water. 

4. Comment: Grazing is inappropriate on millions 
of acres of BLM lands because the costs of 
grazing administration and the harm to other 
resources far exceed the economic benefits. 
BLM's land use plans have almost uniformly 
failed to address the issue of suitability. 

Response: Livestock grazing is one of the 
multiple uses of the public land as authorized by 
FLPMA. However, this does not mean it is in 
the public interest to have grazing on all public 
lands. The diverse representation on the re- 
source advisory councils whose members would 
be advising the BLM in regard to development 
of state or regional standards and guidelines and 
implementation of ecosystem management poli- 
cies would represent the public interest. Suitabil- 
ity criteria per se would not be developed but 
areas where grazing is not compatible with 
healthy sustainable ecosystems would be deter- 
mined as regional standards are applied. See 
Suitability, Response 13. 



65 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



5 . Comment: Suitable land for livestock grazing 
should be rested every second or third year. 

Response: The agencies strive to manage public 
lands to meet physiological needs of vegetation 
and maintain healthy rangelands. Neither rest 
every two or three years nor any one particular 
method of grazing management is appropriate in 
every case. 

Resting rangelands that are suitable for grazing 
every second or third year can be an effective 
method for maintaining healthy ecosystems. This 
is essentially the rest-rotation grazing method. 
Rest-rotation systems are effective in many 
cases, but are certainly not the only effective 
option. Rest-rotation has not been proven effec- 
tive in salt desert shrub environments. In many 
environments, rest-rotation would not achieve 
riparian recovery, particularly if livestock graze 
during the hot season. Season of use, length of 
use period, and degree of use are the most 
critical factors to manipulate in maintaining or 
achieving the ecological health of rangelands. 

6. Comment: The suitability language and provi- 
sions for national level standards and guidelines 
for the Environmental Enhancement alternative 
should be incorporated into the Proposed Action. 



Response: The Proposed Action does not include 
suitability criteria because national criteria 
cannot be developed to fit each local situation. 
The Preferred Alternative would address suitabil- 
ity issues through regional standards and guide- 
lines developed in consultation with the resource 
advisory councils and interested publics. BLM's 
position is that bringing the decisions closer to 
the ground and involving all stakeholders would 
result in increased ownership and support for the 
decisions rather than imposing "one size fits all" 
national suitability criteria. 

Comment: Grazing suitability should be based 
on the amount of precipitation in an area: less 
than 10 inches = no graze, 10 to 20 inches = 
no grazing for 10 to 15 years, and more than 20 
inches = OK to graze if improved management 
is in place. 



Response: Suitability for grazing cannot be 
simplified to a precipitation decision model as 
suggested. Current health of the ecosystem and 
certain physical characteristics (slope, distance 
from water, vegetation type, etc.) are the key 
factors in assessing suitability of a particular 
area. 

8. Comment: The suitability review of lands for 
grazing should remain in the Forest Service 
planning process. 

Response: Forest Plans determine the suitability 
of land for grazing and establish minimum 
standards that must be met. The forest planning 
process is programmatic and does not typically 
analyze site-specific effects of grazing on a 
specific area of land. The National Environmen- 
tal Policy Act (NEPA) requires a site-specific 
project-level analysis of the environmental 
effects of a proposed action. The Forest Service 
rangeland project decisions based on landscape 
analysis would include the site-specific NEPA 
analysis and decision making process that would 
determine if and how grazing would be autho- 
rized on a specific area of land on the basis of 
the suitability of the land for livestock grazing. 

9. Comment: Any land classified as "functioning at 
risk" should be classified as unsuitable for 
livestock grazing to balance local economic 
considerations against biological integrity. 

Response: The BLM suitability criterion, as 
suggested by the comment, was analyzed for the 
Environmental Enhancement Alternative. Classi- 
fying all functioning at risk land as unsuitable 
might be appropriate in certain ecosystems, but 
might not be appropriate or desirable in other 
ecosystems. In ecosystems where the flora and 
fauna depend on grazing, improved grazing 
management would be much better than eliminat- 
ing livestock grazing. 

10. Comment: Grazing capacity is normally deter- 
mined by the average annual forage yields 
produced and available on suitable range within 
an allotment. Nonsuitable range is often not 
excluded from grazing, leading to undesirable 
environmental consequences. Livestock must be 
physically and administratively excluded from 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 66 



nonsuitable range and allowed access only to 
lands defined as suitable according to standards 
and guidelines in forest plans. 

Response: The decisions to physically or admin- 
istratively exclude livestock from lands meeting 
the forest plan criteria for suitability are made on 
an allotment-specific basis through the landscape 
analysis and rangeland project decision process. 
Where the land would not be harmed by inciden- 
tal grazing and no forage is allocated for the 
land, no physical or administrative exclusions 
are placed to keep livestock from the land. 
Where allowing grazing on nonsuitable lands 
would cause undesirable consequences, manage- 
ment would be adjusted, and physical or admin- 
istrative barriers would be imposed. The BLM 
does not propose to establish a specific suitabil- 
ity criteria as part of Rangeland Reform '94. 

1 1 . Comment: The suitability language in the Envi- 
ronmental Enhancement alternative is too restric- 
tive. Voracious consumption in the United States 
is leading us to devastate other areas of the 
biosphere beyond our borders. We need to keep 
our consumption at home where we can better 
control the impacts. Suitability should be tied to 
ecological processes rather than artificial bound- 
aries. Nonbiological criteria should not be used 
to preclude economic opportunities. 

Response: The suitability language in the 
Environmental Enhancement Alternative would 
exclude grazing within certain nonecological 
boundaries, such as within Wilderness and 
Wilderness Study Areas, even though from an 
ecological view, these areas may be well suited 
for grazing under sustainable management. 

12. Comment: Poor condition areas should be 
withdrawn from grazing until they recover (or 
are in excellent condition) from previous grazing 
damage. Sustainable grazing use should be 
considered only after complete recovery of the 
grazing land. 

Response: Long-term rest is one method for 
restoring areas in poor condition, but complete 
rest is not the only method to restore depleted 
rangelands. Certain stable low serai communities 
like cheatgrass would not change, even with 



complete rest. Implementing sound grazing 
management, including proper grazing use 
levels, timing of use, and rest periods, would 
often achieve recovery as effectively as long 
term rest. 

13. Comment: Land managers must have guidelines 
and mechanisms for determining lands that are 
unsuitable for livestock grazing because of 
environmental sensitivity, fragility, recreation, 
cultural or historical significance, degraded 
conditions, having less than 10 inches of precipi- 
tation, not functioning, or having important 
wildlife habitat. Commenters have argued that 
the Proposed Action has no criteria or mecha- 
nism to determine areas that should not be 
grazed by livestock. Grazing management efforts 
should focus on the most suitable land to free up 
public land managers for other critical tasks. 
Clear direction is needed for scientifically sound 
rangeland management. Don 't graze unsuitable 
rangeland. The issue of grazing suitability on an 
allotment needs to be tied to the issuance, trans- 
fer, or renewal of grazing leases or permits. A 
suitability determination should be made for 
every allotment as soon as possible and should 
not be delayed until the end of the 10-year 
permit period. 

Response: The BLM national requirements, 
guiding principles for developing state or re- 
gional standards and guidelines, and the fallback 
standards and guidelines all focus on attaining 
and maintaining healthy rangeland ecosystems. 
Regional and state guidelines would more specif- 
ically address physical and biological require- 
ments necessary to establish a satisfactory direc- 
tion toward maintenance and restoration of 
rangeland health by means of properly function- 
ing ecosystems. The regional standards and 
guidelines would be incorporated into land use 
plans. Forest plans determine the suitability of 
land for grazing and establish minimum stan- 
dards that must be met. If livestock grazing 
conflicts with attaining or maintaining properly 
functioning ecosystems due to the sensitive, 
fragile nature of the site or other resources, the 
area is not suitable for grazing. Sensitive areas 
not suited for grazing are expected to be identi- 
fied by applying regional or state standards and 
guidelines or forest plan standards and guidelines 



67 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



through site-specific analyses. Decisions to 
restrict or eliminate grazing in these areas would 
be made through the land use planning process. 

14. Comment: Grazing of nonfunctioning areas 
under any alternative is not consistent with 
current law, policy, and regulation. Each alter- 
native should account for no grazing in all 
nonfunctioning areas. 

Response: The concept of no grazing in 
nonfunctioning areas has been fully analyzed in 
the EIS. Under the Preferred Alternative, the 
authorized officer would take " appropriate 
action. . . where existing management practices 
fail to meet the requirements . . . . " Appropriate 
action on nonfunctioning areas could be the 
elimination of grazing or it could be a change in 
grazing management to "achieve healthy, prop- 
erly functioning ecosystems". 

Rangeland 
Health/Condition 

1 . Comment: The Department of the Interior must 
give local land managers guidance to protect and 
maintain ecological health of the public lands. 

Response: The Department of the Interior would 
give local land managers guidance in the form of 
manuals, handbooks, and memorandums to aid 
in implementing policies and regulations. Further 
guidance for implementation of Rangeland 
Reform '94 will be developed to aid the field 
offices in managing public land. 

2. Comment: Monitoring information and histori- 
cal facts on private ground show that soils are 
not becoming less fertile. 

Response: Information and conditions on private 
land are not necessarily an indication of the 
status of public lands. Consideration of soil 
stability and watershed function combined with 
plant community structure and function are 
essential in determining rangeland health. Much 
of the public lands is in a proper functioning and 
healthy condition representing stable and produc- 
tive soils. Rangeland Reform '94 proposes to 
continue the successful management of these 
areas to maintain those conditions. At the same 



time, some areas are not maintaining soil stabil- 
ity or are in such a state that soil stability and 
watershed function are at risk of being lost. 

3 . Comment: The federal lands are overstocked, 
and riparian areas have virtually no protection. 
Monitoring would always be inadequate because 
of the minimal income derived from grazing 
permits. The net results on private land are more 
weed invasions, increased wildlife grazing, lower 
water quality, and poorer fisheries. 

Response: Implementing Rangeland Reform '94 
would include developing a process to qualita- 
tively assess the health of rangelands. This 
process would give the BLM land manager a 
valuable tool to prioritize work toward resolving 
conflicts. The use of qualitative assessment 
procedures can be compared to a preliminary 
medical examination to see if a patient needs 
further attention. This examination gives a quick 
diagnosis of the patient's health. If the illness is 
pressing, the patient may need immediate medi- 
cal attention, or further tests may be required to 
determine what the illness is. 

Likewise, if a qualitative health assessment finds 
that the rangeland is unhealthy, more monitoring 
or inventory may be required to corroborate the 
initial assessment and provide managers with 
causal factors responsible for the "illness". In 
some instances, the qualitative health assessment 
alone or in combination with previously collected 
monitoring, inventory, or professional judgment 
may be adequate to initiate actions to correct 
management problems causing unhealthy range- 
lands. These management problems may be with 
grazing use of a geographic area in question or 
may be from another source. When the action 
causing an unhealthy situation is determined, 
steps would be taken to resolve those conflicts. 

This assessment would at first be applied to 
areas with higher resource values and that ex- 
hibit indicators of possible problems with range- 
land health. Riparian areas, threatened and 
endangered species habitat, and areas in de- 
graded condition would certainly fall within 
those types of areas receiving first inspection. 
Emphasis would be placed on analyzing areas 
experiencing problems and then on taking steps 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 68 



to fix areas in critical need. This approach would 
provide greater progress toward attainment of 
healthy rangeland in comparison to an approach 
that starts with a complete inspection of all 
public lands, which would require spending time 
and effort to assess areas already in proper 
functioning condition and would detract from the 
time that could be spent towards fixing problem 
areas. 

This qualitative assessment process would not be 
used as an inventory of the public rangelands to 
satisfy requirements of the Federal Land Policy 
and Management Act (FLPMA) for reporting on 
the conditions of the public rangelands. BLM is 
participating in an interagency effort led by the 
Environmental Protection Agency to develop a 
process that is intended to satisfy that national 
reporting requirement. 

The Environmental Enhancement alternative 
analyzes the removal of livestock from certain 
areas. The Preferred Alternative of Rangeland 
Reform '94 is a means to assess and evaluate the 
rangelands and modify grazing use as required. 
The removal of livestock from an area is also an 
option, if necessary to establish a satisfactory 
direction toward restoration of rangeland health 
and multiple use objectives. 

4. Comment: The Environmental Enhancement 
Alternative, and the No Grazing Alternative both 
show no upland areas in functioning at risk 
categories in 20 years. This implies that livestock 
grazing is the only factor that contributes to risk. 
Other factors that have nothing to do with live- 
stock grazing contribute to upland risk. The 
analysis for riparian areas has the same bias. 
There is no reason to think that riparian areas in 
nonfunctioning condition would increase under 
the Livestock Production Alternative. The as- 
sumptions made are blatantly false {Executive 
Summary pages 48-51). 

Disturbance to a plant community in a terrestrial 
ecosystem is a natural and functional part of the 
system. 

Recreation should be controlled in instances 
where it is degrading environmental health. 



Response: For the purposes of the Rangeland 
Reform '94 EIS, the upland acres analyzed 
within the classes of functioning condition are 
only those areas that are potentially affected by 
livestock. The "at risk" and "nonfunctioning" 
acres shown are the estimated acres that are at 
risk or nonfunctioning due to grazing. This was 
an assumption made for the analysis. This 
estimate has been included in the final EIS. 
Other factors on the public land may also affect 
its functioning capabilities, but an analysis of 
those factors is not within the scope of this EIS. 
For example, large areas of existing or historic 
riparian habitat along the Colorado River may be 
not functioning or may be functioning at risk as 
the result of hydroelectric dams. This type of 
impact is not within the scope of analysis of the 
Rangeland Reform '94 EIS. 

Factors such as fire, climate, wild horses and 
burros, wildlife, and recreation may affect plant 
succession and may also affect the functioning of 
a site. As the result of such factors, some acres 
of the public lands are expected to be function- 
ing at risk in the long term. Rangeland Reform 
'94, however, deals with the analysis of impacts 
resulting from livestock grazing. This analysis 
estimates impacts from livestock grazing for the 
Proposed Action and other alternatives and 
compares expected impacts among alternatives. 

Under Alternative 4 (Environmental Enhance- 
ment) and Alternative 5 (No Grazing)in the long 
term, no acres are expected to be in 
nonfunctioning or functioning at risk status as a 
result of livestock grazing. Under these alterna- 
tives, livestock would be removed from areas 
not in properly functioning condition and from 
riparian areas. 

The increase in acres of nonfunctioning riparian 
areas under the Livestock Production alternative 
would result from the increased emphasis on the 
use of forage for livestock. While the develop- 
ment of BLM state or regional standards and 
guidelines might recognize the value and restora- 
tion of riparian resources, management emphasis 
under the Livestock Production alternative might 
not support hard decisions to change livestock 
grazing use for riparian protection. Improvement 
of riparian areas might be considered secondary 



69 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



to the socioeconomics of western livestock 
production, and overall riparian area conditions 
would decline. 

5 . Comment: Grazing is a bigger threat to range- 
land health than the increased possibility of 
wildfire associated with a No Grazing situation. 
It is incorrect to equate livestock grazing with 
resource damage. It is more accurate to state 
that poor livestock management has led to re- 
source damage. This changes the focus to "man- 
agement" rather than "grazing. " The probability 
of fire increases with no grazing. Livestock 
grazing can reduce the fire hazard. 

Response: Grazing and wildfire can both have 
adverse effects on rangeland values. The issue 
and concern is not which is a bigger threat, but 
rather is effective management in place that 
would minimize any adverse affects and maintain 
or achieve rangeland health goals. With proper 
management, grazing use can occur consistent 
with multiple use objectives and rangeland 
health. In many instances, well-managed grazing 
can be used as a tool to improve resource condi- 
tions. 

The Proposed Action would not eliminate graz- 
ing. The role of fire relative to no grazing was 
addressed in the discussion of the No Grazing 
alternative (see pages 4-109 through 4-112 of the 
draft EIS). The role of fire was also addressed in 
the Description of the Environment section for 
most of the vegetation zones (see pages 3-15 
through 3-25). As described on the referenced 
pages, fire is an integral part of functioning 
ecosystems throughout the West. 

6. Comment: Evaluation of range conditions: Use 
successional classes because management objec- 
tives cannot be met if monitoring measures are 
constantly changing or inconsistent. The monitor- 
ing measures need long-term research to ensure 
that desired objectives are attainable. Ecological 
succession, the most dynamic component of 
watershed and structural diversity, has been 
almost completely ignored in the draft EIS. The 
biological data that forms the foundation of the 
draft EIS is incomplete, misleading, and predom- 
inately more than 10 years old. 



Response: Range condition information (ecologi- 
cal status) is continually reported following 
agency mandates. Currently, qualitative ap- 
proaches are under development to insure that 
the health of selected landscapes can be assessed 
with existing ecological health information. 
Rangeland assessment is being focused towards 
those resources where change is expected to 
occur so management actions can be focused to 
manage those changes. 

Successional classes do not make good resource 
objectives because many plant communities can 
exist within each successional class. The BLM's 
desired plant community concept addresses this 
shortcoming by describing a combination of 
species, within site capabilities, that would meet 
resource objectives. 

Ecological succession (Clementsian concept) is 
being modified by a multiple steady state and 
transition model theory that states that plant 
communities do not progress back towards a 
stable climax plant community, but rather they 
can become locked into a state that does not 
change until a major disturbance occurs. 

The data used in the draft EIS, the most current 
information at the national level, was further 
evaluated by an experienced interdisciplinary 
team of resource professionals. Many years may 
be needed to realize vegetation change in upland 
vegetation communities, and data that is more 
than 10 years old is still pertinent. 

7. Comment: Noxious weeds can be attributed in 
large degree to overuse of the land. The Desert 
Tortoise Research Natural Area is a prominent 
example of the ecological benefits of excluding 
livestock grazing from sensitive desert ecosystems 
over the past 17 years. The proliferation of 
nonnative weeds has been slowed. The diversity 
of native plants is significantly higher in the 
ungrazed area. Undesirable plants are a serious 
threat to the biological diversity of the entire 
federal land management system. This issue 
needs more attention. BLM should be a good 
weed management neighbor with cooperative 
state grazing districts. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 70 



Response: While noxious plants can and do 
invade healthy rangelands, most noxious plants 
take advantage of stresses to vegetation commu- 
nities by means of fire, overgrazing, or other 
disturbances. Rangeland Reform '94 addresses 
the maintenance and improvement of the public 
rangelands so they become as productive as 
feasible for all rangeland values. This final rule 
addresses rangeland health specifically in relation 
to livestock grazing. Rangeland Reform '94 
focuses on developing standards and guidelines 
that would be combined with existing BLM 
practices of developing site specific objectives 
for desired plant communities. Desired plant 
community objectives would consider the diver- 
sity of species, present or desired, as well as any 
management actions to change the existing 
community. If noxious plants are a concern, they 
would be considered in this process. A more in- 
depth analysis of the control of noxious weeds 
on public land was conducted in the Final Envi- 
ronmental Impact Statement: Vegetation Treat- 
ment on BLM Lands in Thirteen Western States 
(BLM 1992a in draft EIS References). 

Comment: The responsibility to determine range 
condition should be left to BLM and the Forest 
Service. AUM levels for all allotments need to be 
reevaluated. 

Response: Condition information is collected in 
a cooperative effort between agencies and inter- 
ested parties. The Environmental Protection 
Agency is leading an interagency effort to con- 
sider a standard method for reporting on the 
condition of all lands nationwide. The responsi- 
bility to make the final determination of range 
condition would continue to reside with the BLM 
and Forest Service. To arrive at decisions, the 
agencies rely on information from a variety of 
sources, making assessments based upon the 
needs of the resources and priorities for monitor- 
ing. 

Comment: Grazing Systems: yearlong rest should 
be implemented at regular intervals to allow 
plants selectively grazed by livestock to remain 
healthy and not be eliminated by grazing. 

Response: The Proposed Action and other 
alternatives, other than No Grazing, in Range- 



land Reform '94 provide for establishing BLM 
grazing management practices (incorporated as 
conditions of grazing permits) that would be 
required to meet the physiological needs of the 
vegetation and be consistent with standards and 
guidelines and multiple use objectives. Each 
grazing allotment and permit can have its own 
unique set of circumstances that require grazing 
practices designed for that permit. Yearlong rest 
is an option that may be included as a condition 
of a grazing permit if appropriate. For example, 
the establishment of yearlong rest periods on a 
Forest Service allotment could result from non- 
use for resource improvement on a temporary 
basis, or could result from a management pre- 
scription decided upon in a rangeland project 
decision. 

10. Comment: The term "Rangeland Health" is not 
well defined in the draft EIS, and consistent, 
reliable data is not available to test the hypothe- 
sis. The indicators for rangeland health identified 
in the National Research Council report do not 
represent accepted principles of rangeland 
assessment. To rationally establish if the range 
should be grazed, we need to consider site 
potential, the history of land use and natural 
disturbances on the site, and the trend under 
current management. Healthy is an evaluative 
term and probably immeasurable. The agencies 
must prepare and circulate for comment a re- 
vised draft EIS or supplemental EIS to address 
the Rangeland Health, New Methods to Classify, 
Inventory, and Monitor Rangelands (National 
Research Council 1994) Report. Although the 
agencies invite comment on the Rangeland 
Health report, the report information is not 
incorporated into the draft EIS. Public comment 
on the report, a separate document that has not 
been considered in the draft EIS, does not satisfy 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 
Proper functioning condition is undefined. Graz- 
ing practices are to "maintain or achieve 
healthy, properly functioning ecosystems. " No 
definition is given for "healthy, " and the defini- 
tion for "properly functioning " is unsatisfactory 
and unworkable. Expansion of the riparian 
checklist to include uplands would convert 
management based on scientific principles to 
management by checklists. Using checklists, 
there is no way to determine trend over time. 



71 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Trend can only be determined via repeat mea- 
surements, using valid statistically analyzable 
techniques, over time on the same area. The 
draft EIS does not have any valid techniques to 
measure trend in the future even though trend, 
especially riparian trend, is given a major 
amount of attention. 

The proposed regulations and subsequent moni- 
toring ignore those criteria that the Academy 
considers most important: soil stability and 
watershed function, nutrient cycling and energy 
flow, and recovery mechanisms. 

Response: For the purposes of analysis within 
the EIS, proper functioning condition of upland 
areas represents the minimum conditions that 
must be present to allow the soil and vegetation 
to produce a sustainable natural biological com- 
munity. A definition of "properly functioning 
condition" is given in the glossary of the draft 
EIS. 

The checklist and proposals concerning the 
health and functioning of upland rangeland 
ecosystems as presented in the Advance Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking were recognized as 
needing revision. An interagency taskforce is 
developing a qualitative assessment process for 
determining rangeland health. The approach to 
evaluating uplands would not be based upon a 
simple yes/no checklist. It would consider such 
things as cover, which would be estimated by 
lifeform and other biotic and abiotic indicators. 
The upland assessment process would be used by 
an interdisciplinary team and would be based 
upon scientific principles, i.e. ecological pro- 
cesses and their relationship to flora and fauna. 
For riparian areas, the process of determining 
function is described in the BLM Technical 
Reference TR-1737-9. 

The report entitled Rangeland Health, New 
Methods to Classify, Inventory and Monitor 
Rangelands (National Research Council 1994) 
was considered in the development of the draft 
EIS and proposed rule. This report is consistent 
with many of the proposals of Rangeland Reform 
'94 and was used in developing direction for 
standards and guidelines. 



The comment on not being able to determine 
trend with a checklist is correct. Quantitative 
monitoring data is still needed to determine 
trend. As a general rule, the qualitative assess- 
ment procedures are not suitable to determine 
trend. The draft EIS does not propose any 
changes to existing methodology for collection of 
trend data or other current forms of monitoring 
data. 

The following definition of rangeland health has 
been added to the glossary of the Final EIS: 
"The degree to which the integrity of the soil 
and the ecological processes of rangeland eco- 
systems are sustained. Rangeland health exists 
when ecological processes are functioning prop- 
erly to maintain the structure, organization and 
activity of the system over time. " 

11. Comment: For Alternative 1, Current Manage- 
ment, the draft EIS states that, in the long term, 
the acreage of the sagebrush plant communities 
in properly functioning condition would increase. 
Explain how they would improve and why. 

Response: Past and future improvements in 
upland rangeland condition are attributed to 
management prescriptions that guide grazing use 
levels, establish proper seasons of use, and 
install proper rangeland improvements. Over the 
long-term, prescriptions are expected to continue 
to improve sagebrush communities acknowledg- 
ing the increase in numbers and frequency of 
wildfire as in the Great Basin. Sagebrush com- 
munities with cheatgrass would decline as a 
result of wildfire, while properly functioning 
sagebrush communities would move toward a 
diverse vegetation community after a disturbance 
by fire. 

12. Comment: Range condition is better now than in 
the past. There is no scientific basis to assert 
that the Nation 's rangelands are deteriorating or 
that rangeland ecosystems are not functioning 
properly. Grazing plant communities with ungu- 
lates does enhance the ecological function of 
rangeland by introducing disturbances, cropping 
plants, and recycling nutrients. Grazing is a form 
of active enhancement that improves resource 
conditions rather than a destructive process. 
Rangelands have a demonstrated track record of 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 72 



improvement under past and current management 
regimes since the passage of the Taylor Grazing 
Act in 1934. The draft EIS figures show that only 
about 1 in 5 acres is either not meeting agency 
objectives or not functioning correctly (20 per- 
cent for Forest Service uplands, 22 percent for 
Forest Service riparian, 13 percent for BLM 
uplands, and 20 percent for BLM riparian). 

Fig. S-4 on page 26 of the Executive Summary 
shows that 78 percent of Forest Service riparian 
areas are meeting or moving toward objectives. 
Pg 3-32 shows the correct percentages. The 
terminology of "meeting or moving toward 
objectives " is ambiguous and should be replaced 
with percentages based on actual monitoring of 
riparian condition. One can assume that the 
acres of unknown condition are probably in poor 
condition. 

The draft EIS states that uplands and riparian 
areas would decline in the next 20 years. This is 
not true. Present trend on upland and riparian 
areas is upward under present management. 
Documented studies prove it. That range condi- 
tions have held steady and continued to improve 
is a glowing testament to the effective steward- 
ship of the permittees. 

The draft EIS states that ecological status and 
vegetation trend in the uplands would not be 
significantly affected by any alternative in the 
short term because uplands would need more 
than 5 years to significantly change. The draft 
EIS also states that functioning uplands would 
most notably improve in the short term under the 
No Grazing and Environmental Enhancement 
alternatives. If the first statement is true then the 
second statement cannot be true. 

Response: Rangeland conditions have improved 
on many upland areas since the 1930s. After 
initial improvements, this trend has progressed at 
a slower rate. Range condition and trend were 
addressed in the draft EIS on pages 3-26 through 
3-28. While upland conditions have improved, 
and trend is generally stable or upward as a 
result of both management practices and climatic 
factors, many areas are not improving. Riparian 
conditions were addressed in the draft EIS on 
pages 3-31 through 3-32. Riparian areas have 



not improved to the same degree as the uplands. 
In some localized areas, substantial progress has 
been made in riparian management, but much 
remains to be done. Rangeland Reform '94 is 
intended to accelerate the improvement in eco- 
logical health. 

Figures S-3 and S-4 on page 26 of the draft EIS 
show the present condition of upland and ripar- 
ian habitat for BLM- and Forest Service-admin- 
istered land. These figures do not show an 
unknown category. For analytical purposes, it is 
assumed that the relative percentages of known 
condition class would be the same for the un- 
known acres as well. Table 3-7 on page 3-32 
and Figure 3-1 on page 3-33 show the current 
condition of upland and riparian habitats, which 
include the unknown category. Data portrayed 
for uplands on BLM-administered land do not 
include an unknown category because this data 
was estimated for analytical purposes in the EIS. 
Appendix I of the draft EIS further explains 
these estimates. 

For both upland and riparian areas, BLM infor- 
mation on acres of nonfunctioning and function- 
ing at risk both show areas of conflict with 
livestock grazing. In addition, the acres classi- 
fied as unknown that may fall within these 
categories also present concerns that need to be 
resolved. Rangeland Reform '94 proposes to 
maintain the improvements to date and to in- 
crease the rate of improvement for areas still 
experiencing conflicts. 

The EIS does not project a large degree of short- 
term change in upland functioning condition 
under any alternative. The most noticeable 
change would result from the Environmental 
Enhancement and No Grazing alternatives. But 
as stated in Appendix I, the upland acres in 
proper functioning condition would increase by 
only 5 percent under these alternatives. No 
estimated change would result in the short term 
under Current Management, and only a minimal 
increase would result under the Proposed Action 
and Livestock Production Alternatives. 

13. Comment: Ranchers are the stewards responsi- 
ble for taking care of fragile soils, fragile envi- 
ronments, etc. If they had not set the goal of 



73 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



clean water and air, there would not be any 
rangeland in excellent condition. The ranchers 
have strong personal and financial incentives to 
nurture the land. Good ranchers can apply peer 
pressure on ranchers who abuse the land. 

Response: Good stewardship of the land adds 
value to the land. Good stewardship in the public 
rangeland context involves cooperation and 
innovation on the part of the permittee, including 
cooperation with BLM and Forest Service in 
implementing livestock management designed to 
achieve multiple use objectives, helping to 
monitor this use, being open to changes in 
management as monitoring data is evaluated, and 
recognizing riparian and other values that may 
not necessarily be consistent with current grazing 
use. Stewardship of this kind is critical to meet- 
ing BLM and Forest Service objectives as well 
as the resource, social, and long range financial 
goals of the permittee. 

Ranchers who are actively involved in coopera- 
tive stewardship would find that Rangeland 
Reform '94 would have few direct impacts on 
their operations. Maintenance of rangelands in 
proper functioning condition, and issuance of 
grazing permit terms and conditions that would 
achieve multiple-use objectives, would result in 
added value for both the permittee and the public 
lands. This type of cooperative relationship 
provides a good example to grazing permittees 
and federal agencies that would aid them in 
improving other rangeland areas that are in 
nonfunctioning condition. See also Wildlife/Wild 
Horses, Response 3. 

14. Comment: Proper livestock grazing is a manage- 
ment tool to aid and improve ecological condi- 
tions. Reductions in livestock grazing can harm 
the environment. Grazing is a vital component of 
sound range management practices, and man- 
aged livestock grazing is an important conserva- 
tion tool that converts natural forage into food 
and fiber without environmental damage. Use the 
digestive tract of cattle to reseed native plants. 
This would reduce the need for mechanical 
manipulations of the soil or vegetation (ARS 
office in Las Cruces). Enormous rangeland 
benefits can accrue due to no grazing. Commod- 
ity production is a tool of land management 



rather than the principal goal. The draft EIS 
alternatives do not leave room for using livestock 
as a management tool to both increased produc- 
tion and environmental enhancement; i.e., 
excellence in management. 

On the White Sands missile range in southern 
New Mexico, there is a great contrast in ecologi- 
cal condition between the areas protected from 
grazing for 46 years and those areas currently 
being grazed. The protected area is a functioning 
native ecosystem with gramma, tobossa, and 
dropseed grasslands that range in height from 2 
to 6 feet. The adjacent public rangeland shows 
bare eroding soils, depleted grass cover, and 
noxious herbaceous plants. Creosotebush and 
mesquite are common. 

Improvement in range condition when grazing is 
reduced or removed often is extremely slow or 
absent. When range condition of arid and semi- 
arid vegetation types are in stable states, even 
complete removal of livestock grazing results in 
little or no improvement in range condition for 
many years or even decades. 

Use Holistic Resource Management to improve 
range condition. MORE grazing is required 
rather the reductions or total elimination as 
proposed in the draft EIS. A lower level of 
resource production does not equate with a 
healthy ecosystem. Animal impacts are of vital 
importance to rangeland health. 

Response: Livestock grazing is one of the many 
multiple uses on the public lands. With proper 
management, grazing use can be consistent with 
achieving multiple use objectives and maintain- 
ing rangeland health. 

In developing multiple use objectives, one must 
determine the tools required to achieve those 
objectives. Both grazing and rest can be used as 
tools to achieve multiple use and ecosystem 
management goals and objectives. However, 
this does not require that all grazing use of the 
public lands be used as a tool or be eliminated. 
Livestock grazing is a commodity use that uses 
sustainable levels of forage produced on the 
public rangelands. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 74 



If livestock grazing is found to be in conflict 
with meeting an area's objectives, then appropri- 
ate actions would be taken to modify the grazing 
use. 

Animal impacts are important in ecosystems that 
evolved with grazing pressure by herbivores 
(such as the shortgrass prairies in the Midwest). 
In many of the western ecosystems, the Great 
Basin being a good example, large herbivores 
were not present, and the vegetation that evolved 
(cool-season bunchgrasses) was not adapted to 
heavy grazing. These systems do not need 
excessive animal impacts to function. Animal 
impacts such as grazing, trampling, and trailing 
can be detrimental. 

Many references in the scientific literature show 
recovery of desired plants with no grazing and 
reduced grazing (see the article by Yorks, West, 
and Capels in the Journal of Range Manage- 
ment, volume 47, pages 359-364), while other 
studies show no increase in desirable species 
under no livestock grazing. Every system reacts 
differently depending on climate, soils, and the 
existing assemblage of species and human im- 
pacts. Management decisions must reflect the 
variation in these factors in different regions and 
sites. 

Implementing Rangeland Reform '94 would 
work toward resolving resource conflicts by 
establishing the required terms and conditions of 
grazing permits to establish a satisfactory direc- 
tion toward desired rangeland conditions. 

15. Comment: The single biggest obstacle to signifi- 
cant rangeland improvement is the agencies' 
inability to consistently support or approve 
intensive range management practices. For the 
past 10 years, BLM has failed to spend all of the 
range betterment funds because many of the 
proposed rangeland improvements are often 
delayed due to administrative appeals filed by 
local environmental groups. 

New range improvements should not degrade 
resources, fragment ecosystems, cause concen- 
trated overuse, or interrupt proper functioning 
condition. 



Response: Many times the management actions 
desired to achieve multiple use objectives go 
beyond the funding and workload capabilities of 
the federal agency. As a result, we must look at 
alternative means of achieving objectives. We 
intend to achieve objectives through collaborative 
efforts between stakeholders and federal and 
state agencies that may be involved to seek 
alternative sources of funding and other alterna- 
tives. These efforts, however, must result in 
meeting objectives in a reasonable timeframe. 
Rangeland Reform '94 would give the BLM 
increased flexibility in distributing range im- 
provement funds by allowing 50 percent of those 
funds to be distributed within priority areas. 
Range improvements are designed and installed 
to achieve specific multiple use objectives. 
Range improvements must be consistent with all 
resource objectives for the area they may affect 
and should not hinder maintaining or improving 
rangeland health. 

16. Comment: The BLM did a good job of summa- 
rizing 1989 range condition information and 
comparing it with data going back to 1936 in the 
agency's State of the Public Rangelands, 1990. 
Not only is the data from this publication not 
used anywhere in these documents, the publica- 
tion is not even cited as a reference. 

Response: While the EIS does not refer specifi- 
cally to the report State of the Public Range- 
lands, 1990, it considers the same parameters 
including vegetative trend and ecological condi- 
tion, the EIS team is familiar with the contents 
of the report, has conducted a review of the 
report, and recognizes, as does the above men- 
tioned report, that successes have been made on 
the public lands toward improving rangeland 
conditions, but that more improvements can and 
should be made. To that end, Rangeland Reform 
'94 proposes to improve ecological conditions 
while providing for sustainable development. 

17. Comment: The draft EIS categorizes upland and 
riparian habitats as either meeting /moving 
toward objectives or not meeting objectives. This 
lumping obscures the conditions existing on the 
ground and the changes that might be antici- 
pated in the next 20 years under each alterna- 
tive. We suggest that the final EIS report current 



75 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



and projected (particularly long-term) habitat 
conditions as follows: (1) acres meeting objec- 
tives, (2) acres not meeting but moving towards 
objectives, (3) acres not meeting or moving 
towards objectives, and (4) acres of undeter- 
mined status. Appendix I briefly describes the 
methodology used by the Forest Service in 1992 
to categorize rangeland status and trend. The 
methodology described in Appendix I parallels 
the categories described above. 

Response: Forest Service acres meeting objec- 
tives and acres not meeting but moving toward 
management objectives are assumed to be under 
proper management and are therefore combined 
for analytical purposes. Acres not meeting or 
moving toward management objectives are 
analyzed separately because they are assumed 
not to be under proper management at present. 
A comparison of the management strategies and 
effects of the Proposed Action and alternatives 
can then be made for areas under proper man- 
agement and areas not under proper manage- 
ment. For the purposes of analyzing the overall 
environmental consequences of proper and 
improper management, the acres in undeter- 
mined status were prorated into the other catego- 
ries based on the ratio of acres in the other 
categories. 

The BLM methodology to categorize rangeland 
status and trend varies from that described for 
the Forest Service (See Appendix I in the draft 
EIS). 

18. Comment: The EIS uses the National Research 
Council's Rangeland Health book, which is 
general and does not contain good science in 
many places. The EIS completely ignored the 
"unity" document produced by the Society of 
Range Management (SRM, Task Group on Unity 
in Concepts and Terminology, New Directions in 
Range condition Assessment, 1991). All the 
agencies participated in this effort as well as 
numerous respected community ecologists in the 
range management profession. This is a much 
more credible document that the Rangeland 
Health book. 

The other major omission is the 1994 book 
published by the Society for Range Management, 



Ecological Implications of Livestock Herbivory in 
the West. This book contains the most thoroughly 
referenced summaries of the major range ecosys- 
tems as well as information on the effect of 
grazing on riparian areas and wildlife habitat, 
ecological and physiological responses of plants 
to grazing and many other topics. 

Response: Principles and concepts contained in 
the publication "Rangeland Health " were incor- 
porated into the draft EIS. Additionally, the 
working report of the Task Group on Unity in 
Concepts and Terminology cited in the comment 
above, was used as a resource for development 
of rangeland health and ecosystem concepts and 
in preparation of the final EIS. 

The book, Ecological Implications of Livestock 
Herbivore in the West cited in the comment 
above, was published after the draft EIS was 
going to print and as such was not considered in 
the draft; however, it has been reviewed and 
considered in the preparation of the final EIS. 

19. Comment: How do you plan to go about deter- 
mining, at the field level, which grazing allot- 
ments have streams that are violating state and 
or a federal clean water law? Will your offices 
have people taking "grab " water samples and 
monitor livestock adjustments based on just one 
sample if it is shown to exceed one of the stan- 
dards ? If not, how many samples would you be 
required to take over what period of time? How 
much would you be relying on State Water 
Quality Bureaus for monitoring data? If monitor- 
ing shows a particular stream exceeds a federal 
or state standard, how would you determine if it 
is being caused by livestock grazing on BLM 
land, when a stream also passes through private 
lands that are being grazed, as is often the case? 

Response: Monitoring management treatments 
and impact mitigation would ensure that regional 
and state standards and guidelines are being 
implemented and are attaining the desired results 
while protecting resource values. BLM and 
Forest Service monitoring plans would utilize 
other federal and state agency data if sampling 
and analysis methods meet agency quality assur- 
ance standards. Field level monitoring plans 
would be designed to measure resource proper- 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 76 



ties that are directly affected by the action being 
evaluated. Monitoring that evaluates a specific 
action accesses that specific action and not 
preexisting or offsite actions. 

vegetation zones 

1 . Comment: Native plants like western wheatgrass 
should be used to reclaim affected areas rather 
than nonnative plants like crested wheatgrass. 

Response: BLM and Forest Service policy is to 
use native plants, including western wheatgrass, 
for reclamation applications. In certain situa- 
tions, BLM and the Forest Service may use 
nonnative plants to meet specific goals. 

2. Comment: The draft EIS states that wildfire 
suppression has resulted in grass depletion and 
subsequent shrub dominance; yet, other parts of 
the draft EIS say that the uplands have improved 
since the 1930s. Which is it? 

Response: Both are true. In many cases, fire 
suppression has reduced natural fire frequencies 
and resulted in an increase in shrubs and trees. 
But because of reduced grazing and improved 
management since the 1930s, the grass and forb 
component has improved within many shrub 
communities. Improved upland condition does 
not necessarily equate directly to increased grass 
composition. 

3. Comment: The term "ephemeral rangeland" 
needs to be clarified. On annual ranges with no 
perennials, what is the purpose of leaving mini- 
mum levels of residual growth ?. No matter how 
ephemeral range is grazed, enough seed always 
remains to germinate in the next grazing season. 

Response: Ephemeral rangeland is defined in the 
glossary of the draft EIS on page GL-8. Ephem- 
eral rangelands do not consistently produce 
enough perennial forage to sustain a long-term 
livestock operation, but may briefly produce 
unusually large volumes of forage to accommo- 
date livestock grazing. The purpose of leaving 
"minimum levels of residual growth" on annual 
ranges with no perennial plants is to protect the 
soil surface and the watershed from accelerated 



erosion and to provide food and habitat for 
wildlife. 

4. Comment: Pinyon-juniper stands will not im- 
prove unless they are chained, burned, or re- 
seeded. This was recognized in the description of 
the environment but not in the analysis. The 
resulting grass stands stay erosion, hold moisture 
better, and significantly improve forage for 
livestock. Sagebrush should be controlled with 
techniques such as burning, plowing, or herbi- 
cide applications. Grass and forbs have too 
much competition in most areas. 

Response: Because Rangeland Reform '94 is a 
broad national program, the analysis for the 
Proposed Action could estimate what, if any, 
change in the level of land treatments would 
occur. Page 2-9 of the draft EIS briefly discusses 
the role of range improvements in achieving 
healthy ecosystems. The health and serai status 
of pinyon-juniper would not change without a 
reduction in the tree canopy, either through fire, 
mechanical treatment, or tree cutting. Pinyon- 
juniper chaining continues to be one tool for land 
managers to use. Rangeland Reform '94 does not 
restrict any management tools. 

5. Comment: The discussion of desert shrub com- 
munities combines the hot deserts with cold 
deserts, i.e. Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan 
deserts. This discussion is too general. 

Response: We disagree. The analysis in the 
draft EIS did not require the level of detail 
suggested. As regional standards and guidelines 
are developed, these differences would be ad- 
dressed more fully. 

6. Comment: The statement on page 3-15 of the 
draft EIS that "number of species native to 
sagebrush communities has declined " is in error. 



Response: Your comment is correct. The text 
has been changed to replace "number" with 
"relative composition." 

7. Comment: The conclusion under "No Grazing" 
that annual grassland response would depend on 
how "well wildlife and fire would replicate the 



77 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



role of livestock" is incorrect. Livestock have no 
natural role in arid western ecosystems. 

Response: The annual grasslands of California 
have been annual grasslands since overgrazing in 
the early Spanish settlement. Modern manage- 
ment of grazing has been designed to prevent 
increases of undesirable annuals such as ripgut 
brome and wild oats (page 3-41 draft EIS) while 
encouraging spring maturing forbs and summer 
annuals. Without livestock grazing, undesirable 
species may increase in some areas to the detri- 
ment of wildlife and other uses. This relationship 
of livestock grazing to the desired plant commu- 
nity was the basis for the conclusion referred to 
in the comment. 

Ecosystem Management 

1 . Comment: Chaining, lethal forms of predator 
control, and blocking wildlife access to forage or 
water should be eliminated because these actions 
are all inconsistent with ecosystem management. 
Pesticide use should be allowed only when it has 
been shown to contribute to improved 
biodiversity and to ecosystem functioning. 

Response: Predator control is not within the 
scope of this EIS. Activities such as chaining are 
covered in the Final Environmental Impact 
Statement Vegetation Treatment on BLM Lands 
in Thirteen Western States (BLM, 1991a). Both 
the Forest Service and BLM have policies that 
promote wildlife access to forage and water. 

2. Comment: The primary goal of Rangeland 
Reform '94 should be maintaining, protecting, 
and restoring native biodiversity. Commodity 
uses should only be allowed to the extent they do 
not compromise biodiversity. Ecosystem diversity 
and integrity should be sustained. Management 
actions should maintain ecosystems that support 
plants and wildlife to their maximum benefit and 
that are also good for recreationists. Sustainable 
ecosystems are compatible with Holistic Resource 
Management. We want a biosphere at optimum 
health for humanity . We cannot limit our efforts 
to simply maintaining on the landscape museum 
specimens of all species. Each species must be 
extensive enough to perform its role to the fullest 
in its respective ecosystem. 



Response: The purpose of Rangeland Reform 
'94 includes improving ecological conditions and 
providing for sustainable uses. Sustainability is 
a cornerstone of Rangeland Reform '94 and can 
be compatible with the concept of holistic re- 
source management (HRM). Both BLM and the 
Forest Service agree that this purpose is consis- 
tent with maintenance, protection, and restora- 
tion of native biodiversity. Current Forest Ser- 
vice policies and proposed BLM standards and 
guidelines lead toward achieving these values. 

3 . Comment: The effectiveness of using fire as a 
management tool should be determined, and this 
approach should have been given more consider- 
ation in the draft EIS. 

Response: Although fire is often mentioned in 
the EIS, fire management is outside the scope of 
the Rangeland Reform '94 EIS. Treatments such 
as prescribed or controlled fire are covered in 
the Final Environmental Impact Statement Vege- 
tation Treatment on BLM Lands in Thirteen 
Western States (BLM 1991a). BLM and the 
Forest Service intend to continue using proper 
tools in managing rangelands. 

4. Comment: How do administrative inconsistencies 
impede ecosystem management? 

Response: Administrative inconsistencies may 
impede ecosystem management when two agen- 
cies with neighboring lands cannot collaborate on 
objectives or actions as an effective unit because 
rules or regulations differ significantly . In addi- 
tion, administrative inconsistencies create confu- 
sion and introduce uncertainties for rangeland 
users that use federal lands administered by 
different agencies. 

5 . Comment: The agencies should withdraw large 
areas of representative ecosystems from livestock 
grazing so that the ecology of such areas can be 
better understood. 

Response: Rangeland Reform '94 does not 
preclude setting aside representative areas from 
various uses. Such land and resource uses are 
allocated in resource management plans or forest 
management plans. Both the BLM and the Forest 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 78 



Service have set aside natural areas, research 
natural areas, areas of critical environmental 
concern, congressionally designated Wilderness 
areas, and primitive areas that meet such needs. 
However, if livestock grazing is compatible with 
such designations, it is allowed. 

6. Comment: The number of livestock grazing on 
the public land should be reduced in all areas, 
and priority should be given for native plants 
and wildlife to become reestablished and to 
occupy better habitat. 

Response: A nation-wide reduction of livestock 
numbers would be arbitrary without a rational 
basis. Proposed standards and guidelines are 
aimed at the establishment of a satisfactory 
direction toward maintenance and restoration of 
range conditions necessary to support native 
species. Together with ecosystem management 
objectives, and management actions in site- 
specific plans, the standards and guidelines 
provide for native plants and wildlife. 

7. Comment: Public land should be managed for 
natural plant communities rather than desired 
plant communities. An area 's ecology should not 
be forced in a direction that does not occur 
naturally for the sake of a vested interest. 

Response: The BLM concept of desired plant 
communities relates to the capability of an 
ecological site to produce a real, documented 
plant community. Desired plant communities 
would be determined via the use of interdisci- 
plinary teams. This is an important mechanism 
to protect against any particular "vested interest" 
making the sole determination of what the de- 
sired plant community should be. Desired plant 
communities would be determined subject to the 
direction and constraints of the appropriate land 
use plans. See the definition for "Desired Plant 
Community" in the draft EIS Glossary. 

8. Comment: A major ecosystem such as a river 
basin consists of many smaller ecosystems, each 
with its own combination of soil types, slope, 
and climate. Under Current Management we can 
continue to enhance ecosystems one locality at a 
time. 



Response: We agree that many systems make up 
the whole ecosystem. Under Rangeland Reform 
'94 ecosystems would be easier to improve than 
under Current Management. Rangeland Reform 
'94 includes coordinated management at many 
different levels, not the least of which is the 
allotment level. 

9. Comment: An ecosystem management act would 
achieve the following objectives: improve soil, 
water, and vegetation of public rangeland eco- 
systems by transferring public land management 
to the Soil Conservation Service and using their 
existing resources and management tools. 

Response: The passage of an ecosystem manage- 
ment act is beyond the scope of this EIS. 

10. Comment: Instead of conducting one-point-in- 
time inventories and analyses, the agencies 
should develop an ecological succession data 
base and monitoring system at the district level 
to allow them to manage for ecological change. 

Response: Rangeland monitoring includes track- 
ing ecological condition and trend over time. 
Such data is localized and works in concert with 
rangeland inventories, such as ecological site 
inventories and upland or riparian assessments of 
functional status. Both agencies' management 
tools provide information necessary to manage 
for ecological change. 

1 1 . Comment: How would the ecoregions be deter- 
mined (physiographic regions, vegetation zones, 
etc.) ? "Would the BLM ecoregions be compatible 
with those of the Forest Service and other agen- 
cies? The final EIS should include a mechanism 
for agency coordination. 

Response: Physiographic regions were deter- 
mined for this EIS through coordination between 
BLM and the Forest Service. The regions were 
determined for purposes of analysis only. In 
order to implement BLM standards and guide- 
lines under Rangeland Reform '94, ecoregions 
would be determined through coordination with 
interested parties. 

12. Comment: The draft EIS (page 3-14) states that 
"A disclimax community may diminish the bio- 



79 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



logical diversity of a landscape. " This statement 
reveals a lack of knowledge of what contributes 
to biodiversity at the landscape level. A mosaic 
of communities, including some "disclimax" 
communities would give the highest landscape 
diversity. A mosaic of communities representing 
a wide range of serai conditions provides the 
highest landscape diversity. Credible ecologists 
say that the highest species biodiversity is some- 
where near mid-seral conditions, which for range 
condition means in the fair /good range. F.E. 
Clements in 1905 wrote the following about 
species diversity in relation to plant succession: 
"The number of species is small in the initial 
stages, it attains a maximum in the intermediate 
stages; and again decreases in the ultimate 
formation, on account of the dominance of a few 
species. " His "initial stages " would be early 
serai or "poor" condition. His "intermediate 
stages" would be ranges in "fair" and "good" 
condition. And his "ultimate formation" would be 
the "climax" or "excellent" range condition. 
Most ecologists still subscribe to Clements ' ideas 
on this. This misinformation on the effects of 
grazing on biodiversity shows that the draft EIS 
does not meet NEPA procedural requirements. 

Response: The disagreement with the draft EIS 
analysis is largely over a matter of scale. At the 
large landscape scale described, landscape 
diversity would be highest with the widest array 
of communities in a mosaic. The highest 
biodiversity, however, does not necessarily 
occur in such a case. Too much edge habitat or 
too many normative monocultures or patches of 
insufficient size have been found to result in 
reduced biological diversity. A diversity of 
ecological status or serai stages in some arrange- 
ment over a very large area is needed. If all sites 
were in a climax state, certain flora and fauna 
dependent on other serai stages would be lost. 

The statement referenced from the draft EIS in 
the above comment is factual (page 3-14). 
Cheatgrass is an excellent example of a 
disclimax community where the biological 
diversity of the landscape is diminished. 

13. Comment: Generally speaking, the environmen- 
tal groups strongly support the mission of Range- 
land Reform '94 to improve and restore range- 



land ecosystems and productivity. One goal of 
ecosystem management should be to encourage 
heterogeneous landscapes consisting of diverse 
mosaics of plant and animal communities that 
foster the ecological structure and function that 
sustains productive and resilient systems. Achiev- 
ing this goal would require increased efforts to 
sustain and improve habitats and populations of 
threatened and endangered wildlife and plant 
species. It is critical that grazing reform be 
undertaken before more species are listed as 
threatened or endangered; once species are 
listed, management flexibility is reduced consid- 
erably. 

Response: Both BLM and the Forest Service 
desire to conduct land use planning in collabora- 
tion with other agencies and groups across 
jurisdictional boundaries on large landscape 
scales. Achieving this goal would be long term. 
BLM standards and guidelines would include 
requirements to establish satisfactory direction to 
"Restore, maintain, and enhance habitats of 
Federal Proposed, Category 1 and 2 Federal 
candidate, and other special status species to 
promote their conservation. " 

14. Comment: Private inholdings, including base 
property, would be sold off because of Range- 
land Reform '94. The developing of private lands 
would cause a loss of open space, degrading of 
the environment, and lowering of red meat 
production. Deeded lands and water would be 
fenced separately from the public land. The 
pressure of expanding urban areas onto sur- 
rounding rangelands, public and private, needs 
more attention. Would the moderate increase in 
the condition of the public lands be enough to 
compensate for the massive complete destruction 
of wildlife habitat, riparian areas, and vegetation 
growth associated with housing tracts ? 

Response: The West is already experiencing a 
trend toward sales of private inholdings in 
developing areas where market pressures are 
great. But that analysis is beyond the scope of 
this EIS. The Proposed Action would not signifi- 
cantly affect the sale of ranches (pages 4-54 to 
4- 56, page 4-62). Therefore, the Preferred 
Alternative would not cause a significant loss of 
open space or degradation of the environment. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 80 



15. Comment: The following statement about special 
status species on page 3-49 of the draft EIS is 
false: "As native plants die, they are usually 
replaced by exotic plants; inherently decreasing 
forage, watershed protection, and wildlife habi- 
tats. " Native plants that die may be replaced by 
exotic plants, but they may not be. Exotic plants 
are not inherently less valuable for forage, 
watershed protection, or wildlife habitats. There 
is simply no basis for this statement at all. 

Response: This statement was corrected. See 
Chapter 5 of the final EIS for changes to page 3- 
49 of the draft EIS. 

16. Comment: Grazing and grazing disturbance are 
needed parts of many ecosystems, and their loss 
can harm biodiversity and lower productivity. Do 
they not dramatically improve ecosystem health 
as stated in the draft EIS? Grazing is a part of 
functional ecosystems, not simply something that 
man "does" to the system. The absence of graz- 
ing is unnatural. The ecosystem management 
approach creates a preference for nongrazing on 
historic rangeland rather than a more balanced 
approach. The assumption that livestock grazing 
emulates grazing behavior and use by native 
species is false. Many of the lands west of the 
Rockies should never have been grazed by live- 
stock. 

Response: In ecosystems that developed with 
large ungulates, livestock grazing can simulate 
some natural processes. Livestock grazing, 
however, does not often mimic natural ungulate 
use patterns of moving, herding, and naturally 
leaving an area once it has been heavily im- 
pacted. National standards and guidelines that 
halt yearlong grazing on the same piece of 
ground would help mimic natural ungulate 
activities. The benefits of grazing and grazing 
disturbance in some ecosystems are discussed in 
several places in the draft EIS, particularly under 
the impacts of No Grazing. The benefit of large 
ungulate impact in certain cases is discussed on 
pages 3-22, 4-109, 4-110, 4-112, and 4-113. In 
ecosystems that developed without large ungu- 
lates, livestock grazing does not replace a natural 
process. 



17. Comment: The draft EIS intentionally overstates 
the adverse impact of grazing on special status 
species to justify its purpose. Page 27 of the 
Executive Summary states that "Many species. . . 
and raptors have been greatly affected. " The 
largest concentration of nesting raptors in the 
United States is in the Snake River Birds of Prey 
Conservation Area; an area dominated by annual 
grasslands caused by overgrazing during settle- 
ment times and continuously ravaged by fire ever 
since. 

Response: The text from the draft EIS cited in 
the comment refers to riparian decline and 
species that depend on riparian areas. The cited 
text does not apply to most raptors in the Snake 
River Birds of Prey Conservation Area. Raptors 
in this area are mainly upland species that nest in 
the cliffs of the gorge. 

18. Comment: The terms "ecosystem" and "ecosys- 
tem management" are poorly defined in the draft 
EIS. Any definitions should include human 
activity, both historic and social, as well as the 
culture that has developed around grazing cattle. 
If both BLM and the Forest Service do not know 
what ecosystem management is or how to achieve 
it, they cannot regulate ecosystems. The term 
"preservation " falsely identifies managing for 
static, unchanging systems. This is an antiquated 
concept because modem ecological theory recog- 
nizes the dynamic qualities of these natural 
systems. The draft EIS frequently states that 
continued livestock grazing is causing ecological 
damage, but the data does not support this 
sweeping statement. The agencies already have 
ample authority to address biological diversity 
and ecosystem management issues. Biodiversity 
is an ambiguous term that envisions a new, 
unproven, subjective way to micromanage re- 
sources. The simplistic notion that removing 
cattle from the land would return the ecosystem 
to its condition before European settlement 
ignores interim climate changes, the effect of 
nearby cities, the impact of recreationists, and 
the balanced interdependence of the current 
ecosystem. The best way to preserve the ecosys- 
tem is to preserve the rancher and his cattle 
because the rancher's self-interest in the regener- 
ation and improved health of the renewable grass 
resource motivates good stewardship. Ecosystem 



81 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



management must be site specific and consistent 
with the spirit of the Taylor Grazing Act. The 
section on national requirements and standards 
and guidelines to manage rangelands in a man- 
ner that would achieve or maintain ecological 
health is contradictory to the Taylor Grazing Act 
and thus violates the intent of Congress. 

Response: A dictionary definition of ecosystem 
is "the complex of a community and its environ- 
ment functioning as an ecological unit in na- 
ture." The Department of the Interior defines 
ecosystem as "an interconnected community of 
living things, including humans, and the physical 
environment with which they react". These 
definitions have been incorporated into the 
changes in the final EIS. Ecosystem management 
is also defined by both agencies in the final EIS. 
The problem with attempting to conform ecosys- 
tems to precise definitions or lines on a map is 
that ecosystems occur at multiple geographic 
scales that change and evolve in response to both 
human influence and natural events. The only 
ecosystem boundaries are those that we choose 
or can recognize. 

BLM and the Forest Service recognize ecosys- 
tems are dynamic entities with dynamic pro- 
cesses. Preservation, in an ecological sense, can 
be the act of retaining systems and their pro- 
cesses within certain variable bounds, recogniz- 
ing natural changes within those bounds. Our 
intent is to manage rangelands so that those 
ecosystems and their processes can be sustain- 
able over time. Our intent is not to regulate 
ecosystems, but to regulate resource uses so that 
rangelands are properly functioning (healthy) and 
their ecological process are sustainable. Simi- 
larly, Rangeland Reform '94 does not intend to 
return ecosystems to conditions as they were 
before European settlement. Biodiversity or 
biological diversity is defined in the Glossary of 
the final EIS. Biodiversity is a result of manage- 
ment and not a management technique. 

19. Comment: Current Forest Service inventory 
procedures do not produce statistically reliable 
estimates of the proportion of rangelands in each 
ecological status class. Different methods are 
used to measure ecological status in different 
Forest Service regions. In addition, the ecologi- 



cal status data are collected as part of ongoing 
Forest Service management activities rather than 
as part of a representative sampling program. 
The differences in methods used and the absence 
of a statistically reliable sampling design do not 
allow confident compilation of Forest Service 
ecological status data at the national level. 

Response: This comment is correct in that the 
Forest Service does not compile ecological status 
data at the national level because this data does 
not exist for all National Forest System lands. 
We agree that it would be desirable to collect 
statistically valid ecological status information on 
all National Forest System lands. Ecological site 
descriptions do not exist for all ecological types. 
The Forest Service does not presently have the 
resources available to develop ecological site 
descriptions for all ecological types or to inven- 
tory all National Forest System lands for ecolog- 
ical type and status. The Forest Service does 
compile data nationally on the status of range- 
lands relative to forest plan objectives. Forest 
plan rangeland objectives are typically expressed 
as ecological status or management status of 
vegetation and desired soil qualities. 

20. Comment: To our knowledge, neither the BLM 
or the Forest Service have tested a no grazing 
alternative on an ecosystem level to determine 
the environmental consequences. If this has been 
done the results should be disclosed to the pub- 
lic. Native herbivores of all shapes and sizes 
would still be present, and would likely increase 
in populations in the absence of competition from 
livestock (as stated in the section on impacts to 
wildlife, page 2-48). Therefore, the ecosystem 
would continue to "evolve " with herbivore. The 
draft EIS conclusion is pure range management 
dogma, i.e., it epitomizes the narrow view that 
livestock "improve" vegetation and ecosystems. 

Response: Projections in the No Grazing Alter- 
native are based on professional judgements of 
interdisciplinary teams using knowledge of 
research conducted in many areas throughout the 
West. In certain cases, livestock may be used to 
achieve certain habitat characteristics. Compar- 
ing alternative discussions in Chapter 4, one can 
see a difference in predictions with and without 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 82 



grazing, and that environmental health would 
vary by vegetation type and grazing history. 

Special status Species 

1 . Comment: According to materials published by 
the Wilderness Society and the Environmental 
Defense Fund, 13 percent of the animals and 25 
percent of the plants on the Endangered Species 
List are listed because of grazing. This situation 
places a double burden on taxpayers. Between 
1982 and 1993, the number of threatened and 
endangered plants and animals on lands adminis- 
tered by BLM has tripled. On the basis of first- 
hand observation and monitoring of grazing in 
the western Mojave Desert over the past 20 
years, livestock grazing has contributed to the 
decline of the Mojave population of the desert 
tortoise. 

Response: When species are listed as threatened 
or endangered by the Fish and Wildlife Service 
or the National Marine Fisheries Service, rea- 
sons for listing are described in the final rule. 
Rarely does a single source cause a listing. In 
the cases described by the Wilderness Society 
and Environmental Defense Fund, certain as- 
pects of livestock grazing were most often 
included as a contributing factor along with other 
factors. A backlog of species that may warrant 
listing exists due to workload and other factors. 
Listings have increased recently because of 
increased petitions and settlement of lawsuits 
regarding the listing of species. Impacts of 
certain livestock grazing practices have been 
implicated along with other factors in the decline 
of the Mojave population of the desert tortoise. 

2. Comment: We strongly disagree with the draft 
ElS's conclusion that livestock grazing has led to 
the decline of many sensitive species on public 
rangelands (microhabitats, edge of historic 
range, etc.). NEPA should address this issue at 
the allotment level. The decline of sensitive 
species results from many causes other than 
livestock. What evidence exists that livestock 
grazing is detrimental to any or all threatened 
and endangered species or that changes in 
livestock grazing would reverse the downward 
trends ? 



Response: When species are listed as threatened 
or endangered, the reasons for listing, such as 
threats, are published in the final rule in the 
Federal Register. Background documentation on 
the threats is included for each species in each 
final rule. As Rangeland Reform '94 is applied 
to the regional and then allotment level, more 
NEPA analysis may be required. Livestock 
grazing practices affect each ecosystem and each 
species differently. The scientific literature is 
replete with evidence that certain livestock 
grazing practices, such as heavy year-long 
grazing in riparian areas, harm many species. 
Given that changes in livestock grazing can 
change plant community composition and struc- 
ture, reason and experience reveal that changes 
in livestock grazing can be one factor in revers- 
ing the downward trends in some species de- 
pending on that composition or structure. A 
variety of factors or threats affect the status of 
many species. Livestock grazing is but one, and 
grazing changes must be part of a suite of 
changes to bring about recovery. 

3. Comment: Some threatened and endangered 
species require degraded rangeland for their 
habitat. Is overgrazing acceptable in an ap- 
proved recovery plan? The rancher may be 
punished for not providing threatened and endan- 
gered species habitat (poor condition range in 
this instance) and/or punished for not maintain- 
ing the uplands in proper functioning condition. 
The fallback standards and guidelines would 
conflict with the Endangered Species Act where 
a threatened or endangered plant (meadow 
pussytoes in this example) requires an overgrazed 
riparian habitat. 

Response: A recovery plan describes objectives 
and actions that should result in threatened or 
endangered species recovery. Agencies like 
BLM or the Forest Service can use information 
in recovery plans to set desired plant communi- 
ties or vegetation conditions needed for a partic- 
ular species. Such conditions could then be 
applied at the allotment level, and treatments 
could be prescribed through plans, permit terms, 
or other means to achieve the desired conditions. 
Permittees cooperating on the plan or complying 
with the terms of a permit would not be pun- 
ished for not mamtaining the uplands in a differ- 



83 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



ent condition. Both BLM and the Forest Service 
believe that many livestock grazing practices can 
be compatible with and can be a valid manage- 
ment tool for improving federal rangelands. 
Additionally, standards and guidelines call for 
management practices that restore, maintain, and 
enhance habitats for threatened and endangered 
species. In this way, BLM rangeland actions 
would be compatible with the Endangered Spe- 
cies Act. 

4. Comment: The Preferred Alternative in the final 
EIS should include the special status species 
discussion that is part of the Environmental 
Enhancement alternative in the draft EIS. Desig- 
nated habitat for threatened and endangered 
species should not be grazed by livestock. 

Response: Through the Section 7 process under 
the Endangered Species Act, an agency whose 
actions may affect a listed species or destroy or 
adversely modify its critical habitat would have 
to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service or 
the National Marine Fisheries Service. Through 
such consultation, BLM would likely propose 
actions that would promote recovery. If eliminat- 
ing livestock grazing is the only action that could 
achieve a recovery objective for a species, then 
that action may be proposed. Eliminating live- 
stock grazing just because a critical habitat is 
designated in the area is not warranted in the 
absence of impacts to the species or its critical 
habitat. 

5. Comment: The fallback standards and guidelines 
place threatened and endangered species ahead 
of all other habitat requirements. 

Response: Listed species can be indicators of 
ecosystem health. The agencies work toward 
achieving the goal of ensuring proper habitat for 
all species by ensuring that the ones under the 
greatest threat are the ones that get immediate 
attention. Because of the national legal mandate 
of the Endangered Species Act, standards are 
described to ensure threatened and endangered 
species are conserved. Habitats for other species 
do not have such a national mandate. 



6. Comment: The draft EIS gives no indication that 
the Proposed Action would result in a change of 
direction, just a slowing of the degradation. 

Response: The Proposed Action raises the 
rangeland management emphasis on threatened 
and endangered species habitats and incorporates 
standards and guidelines that when developed 
and applied at the local level would result in 
habitat improvements for many species. See the 
Vegetation Section, pages 4-41 to 4-48, Figures 
4-7 through 4-10, and 4-51 to 4-53 in the draft 
EIS. Analysis of the Proposed Action in these 
sections does not describe a slowing of degrada- 
tion, but long-term improvement. 

7. Comment: Critical habitat has only been desig- 
nated for a fraction of the threatened and endan- 
gered candidate species listed in the draft EIS. 
Critical habitat is supposed to be designated by 
the Secretary of the Interior when the species is 
listed. BLM should use the opportunity provided 
by the standards and guidelines to designate 
critical habitat. 

Response: The Secretaries of the Departments of 
the Interior and Commerce are authorized to 
designate critical habitat under the Endangered 
Species Act. BLM has not been delegated the 
authority to designate critical habitat. That duty 
resides with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
within the Department of the Interior and with 
the National Marine Fisheries Service within the 
Commerce Department. The Fish and Wildlife 
Service and the National Marine Fisheries Ser- 
vice may determine that designating critical 
habitat is not prudent or that insufficient data 
exist at this time to make a designation. See 
Special Status Species, Response 14. 

8. Comment: Stronger wording needs to be used in 
place of "to the extent practicable " in situations 
where habitat for listed species needs to be 
maintained, restored, and enhanced. 

Response: The comment refers to page 2-12 of 
the draft EIS on fallback guideline number 1. 
This phrase has been deleted from the Preferred 
Alternative. The focus of the Preferred Alterna- 
tive would provide national requirements and 
guiding principles that would establish a satisfac- 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 84 



tory direction to maintain, restore and enhance 
habitat for listed species. 

9. Comment: Many times protection of a species is 
used as a tool to eliminate livestock grazing. The 
endangered species issue is a tool being used in 
the West to remove cattle as well as hunting and 
recreation from the public land. 

Response: Specific guidance governs the tools 
that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 
National Marine Fisheries Service must use to 
protect species via listing as threatened or endan- 
gered. Species are listed as threatened or endan- 
gered because one or more of five listing factors 
mandated by Congress in the Endangered Spe- 
cies Act have been met such that the species are 
threatened with endangerment or are in danger 
of extinction. The factors include (1) the present 
or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range; (2) over 
utilization for commercial, recreational, scien- 
tific, or educational purposes; (3) disease or 
predation; (4) the inadequacy of existing regula- 
tory mechanisms; or (5) other natural or man- 
made factors affecting a species' existence. We 
know of no cases where the presence of endan- 
gered species has directly caused removal of 
cattle, hunting, or recreation from public land 
without a clear linking rationale. 

10. Comment: The "change in rangeland vegetation 
communities since the settlement period " has not 
been the only reason for the decline of species on 
rangeland. Enhancement of rangeland ecosys- 
tems would not solve all of the issues of species 
decline as implied on page 22 of the Executive 
Summary, Wildlife and Special Status Species. 

Response: We agree with this statement. Many 
factors help explain why species are listed as 
threatened or endangered, such as the following: 
(1) the present or threatened destruction, modifi- 
cation, or curtailment of habitat or range; (2) 
over utilization for commercial, recreational, 
scientific, or educational purposes; (3) disease or 
predation; or (4) inadequacy of existing regula- 
tory mechanisms. Usually several factors con- 
tribute to the need to list a particular species, 
such as predation, water diversion, habitat 
fragmentation from urban development, and 



introduction of exotic competing species. 

1 1 . Comment: Cooperation with the Fish and Wild- 
life Service should be improved in actions that 
reduce grazing to prevent grazing from having to 
be eliminated because of the Endangered Species 
Act. 

Response: BLM, the Fish and Wildlife Service, 
and the Forest Service worked on Rangeland 
Reform '94 from the beginning thus ensuring 
close coordination. A Memorandum of Under- 
standing between Department of the Interior 
agencies and the U.S. Forest Service was signed 
in January 1994. This memorandum commits the 
agencies to work together on activities that could 
remove threats to candidate species before there 
is a need for federal listing as threatened or 
endangered. The White House has begun an 
Endangered Species Act working group charged 
with improving interagency coordination through 
several means. Additionally, BLM and the Fish 
and Wildlife Service coordinate directly or 
through NEPA and/or Endangered Species Act 
reviews of proposed actions at programmatic and 
ground levels, thus providing more opportunities 
for cooperation. 

12. Comment: Declines in anadromous fisheries can 
be almost exclusively attributed to water develop- 
ments and diversions. Efforts by the large power 
consumers on the Columbia River system to 
identify livestock grazing as the cause are flatly 
contradicted by data correlating the salmon 
decline to new dams. The same is true on other 
rivers. 

Response: Interdisciplinary teams of federal, 
industry, and academic specialists have evaluated 
a full array of conflicts with anadromous fisher- 
ies in the Pacific Northwest, including the 
Columbia Basin. While water levels and diver- 
sions are clearly major contributors to the 
salmonid's decline, other factors include impacts 
to small-order streams above large diversions 
and impoundments. These impacts include 
siltation of spawning gravels, higher water 
temperatures, declines in base flows, and low- 
ered diversity of instream habitat structure, all of 
which can be attributed to improper livestock 
grazing management in certain areas. 



85 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



13. Comment: As commodity users, ranchers are the 
only people held liable for the recovery of threat- 
ened and endangered species without any type of 
incentive being given for recovery. Recovery of 
threatened and endangered species is a broad 
sweeping requirement that should be reworded to 
reflect that grazing would not further endanger 
the existence of any threatened and species now 
present. Additional commenters felt that the BLM 
standards and guidelines should require that 
management practices ensure the recovery of 
every special status species listed in the draft 
EIS. 

Response: Ranchers would benefit by the good 
stewardship requirements under the grant policy. 
Habitat recovery can improve a species' status, 
rangeland health and productivity, as well as 
potentially increasing red meat production. 
Increasing management flexibility would be 
likely in the long term. Improved rangeland 
health and productivity are likely to improve 
ranch value. 

When consulting with the Fish and Wildlife 
Service, both BLM and the Forest Service 
propose actions and receive biological opinions 
that also consider species recovery. The results 
of such biological opinions are incorporated into 
the terms of permits. In this way other commod- 
ity users are also held accountable. 

There is no intention of solely issuing permits on 
the basis of recovery. Livestock grazing is an 
activity authorized on public land by permit. 
Standards and guidelines would apply some 
terms to all grazing permits. The standards and 
guidelines would conform to the law. The 
Standards and Guidelines section in the Preferred 
Alternative have been changed in the final EIS to 
respond to many other comments and clarify this 
issue. 

The Endangered Species Act has several parts. 
The requirement that actions must be "...not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
any endangered species or threatened species..." 
is in Section 7 (a)(2). Recovery activities are 
covered under Section 7(a)(1), which states, 
"The Secretary shall review other programs 
administered by him and utilize such programs 



in furtherance of the purposes of this Act. " This 
section includes recovery. Both BLM and the 
Forest Service are moving toward the recovery 
requirement in administering their many pro- 
grams, including rangeland management. 

14. Comment: There is no mention in the draft EIS 
of consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service on the effects of this proposed action to 
federally listed species. Section 7 of the Endan- 
gered Species act requires consultation on all 
agency actions which may affect the continued 
existence of a listed species. 

Response: Impacts to Special Status Species are 
discussed in chapter 4 of the draft EIS for each 
alternative under the headings "Special Status 
Species" and "Resident and Anadromous Fish." 
Threatened and Endangered species are included 
in that discussion. Additionally, a biological 
assessment has been prepared and the biological 
opinions of both the National Marine Fisheries 
Service and Fish and Wildlife Service are in- 
cluded in the final EIS, Appendix T. 

15. Comment: Table 2-9 of the draft EIS shows that 
the Proposed Action will not lead to the doubling 
of salmon and steelhead which is a Northwest 
Power Planning Council (NPPC) goal. The 
Environmental Enhancement Alternative is the 
only "action" alternative that may allow the 
accomplishment of the NPPC goal, because it 
would double the riparian recovery rate in the 
long term. 

Response: The tables and figures relating to the 
above are estimates for rangelands across the 
nation, and do not attempt to portray regionally- 
specific changes or consequences resulting from 
a particular alternative. The Preferred Alterna- 
tive does not preclude development of manage- 
ment actions responsive to goals. 

Wildlife/Wild Horses and 
Burros 

1. Comment: If the grazing on public land is 
reduced or eliminated, ranchers would move 
their displaced livestock to private land. This 
action in turn would displace more wildlife. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 86 



Response: The Preferred Alternative could result 
in some localized reductions or exclusions of 
livestock from nonfunctioning rangelands and 
riparian areas until a functional condition could 
be reestablished. But more likely changes might 
be seen in season of use or methods of grazing 
management with livestock continuing to graze 
public lands. Where livestock would be ex- 
cluded, particularly from nonfunctioning riparian 
areas, this action in the long term is expected to 
benefit both livestock and wildlife generally with 
improved range conditions. 

2. Comment: Wildlife habitat needs should be 
subordinate to livestock grazing on any suitable 
grazing rangelands. Overgrazing by wildlife must 
be recognized. The damage done to riparian 
areas and overall ecosystems by great numbers 
of wildlife in the western states should be ad- 
dressed in the final EIS. The final EIS needs to 
clarify the relationship between wildlife utiliza- 
tion, livestock stocking rates, and the authority 
of the authorized officer to make stocking rate 
reductions on the basis of wildlife utilization. 
Wildlife grazing should not be given priority over 
livestock grazing with respect to forage utiliza- 
tion. Wildlife should share grazing reductions 
needed to protect the resource. If not, the incen- 
tive for ranchers to improve conditions for 
wildlife would be lessened. Historic use by 
livestock must be satisfied before wildlife has any 
grazing preference. On Forest Service System 
land, big game numbers are increasing, largely 
because of ranchers building thousands of water- 
ing sites. Wildlife grazing preferences comple- 
ment livestock grazing preferences. Cattle like 
grass, and sheep and deer prefer forbs and 
shrubs. Public lands should be a wildlife sanctu- 
ary. Wildlife populations should be first priority 
ahead of grazing permits. Rules should provide 
for adequate residual cover for ground-nesting 
birds and waterfowl. Livestock grazing should be 
limited on wildlife winter ranges, fawning and 
calving grounds, and riparian areas. Domestic 
sheep grazing should be prohibited on bighorn 
sheep range because of diseases. 

Response: The Federal Land Policy and Man- 
agement Act (FLPMA) provides for multiple 
uses and does not identify dominate uses on 
public lands. With the exception of the No Graze 



Alternative, the other management alternatives in 
the draft EIS recognize domestic livestock 
grazing as a legitimate use of the public lands. 
In localized instances, wildlife populations do 
overgraze their range. In Arizona, elk inhabiting 
national forests compete with livestock for 
limited forage. In some cases, elk populations 
may need to be adjusted to improve range condi- 
tion. In other areas, livestock may be causing the 
main damage, and their numbers may need to be 
reduced. In still other areas, livestock and wild- 
life do not compete for the same forage. For 
example, livestock consume grass, while deer 
consume forbs and shrubs. Each situation of this 
type needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case 
basis so the federal manager can make manage- 
ment decisions that would result in improved 
rangeland function. Management of wildlife 
populations is the responsibility of state wildlife 
management agencies, but BLM and the Forest 
Service work with each state to keep big game 
populations healthy and within reasonable limits 
that can be supported by the habitat managed by 
the federal agencies. 

3. Comment: The ranchers provide water, salt, 
grass, and predator control for wildlife. If the 
ranchers disappear, so would the wildlife. The 
No Grazing alternative or ranch bankruptcies or 
noncompetitive returns on investments would 
reduce the number of watering facilities for 
wildlife because these facilities would no longer 
be maintained by the permittees. What effect 
would this have on wildlife? Ranchers have 
added value to the public land, improved range 
condition, and greatly improved the natural 
habitat for a more favorable environment for 
wildlife. Ranching management improves the 
land for wildlife. Note the increase in big game 
numbers since the 1960s. Livestock water devel- 
opment has favored water-dependent species. 
Many wildlife species that don 't require water 
tend to increase on grazed areas because they 
are favored by mid-seral conditions. It is doubt- 
ful that more than one or two species could be 
named that might be harmed by water develop- 
ment. This approach is an attempt to counter 
proven benefits to wildlife of livestock water 
developed in the uplands. This type of specula- 
tion without any data (page 4-27) does not 
belong in the draft EIS. The draft EIS does not 



87 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



name any upland species said to be threatened 
by upland water development. Given the concern 
over the effects of water developments on the 
abundance of wildlife species that do not require 
surface water, wouldn 't it be a good idea to turn 
the water off when livestock are not using it to 
avoid the establishment of "water dependent" 
wildlife species ? 

Response: Water developments, predator con- 
trol, salting, seedings, and other projects de- 
signed to benefit livestock do not always benefit 
all wildlife. As multiple use agencies, both the 
Forest Service and the BLM must manage 
habitats to benefit all wildlife species in the 
ecosystem, not just those that benefit from 
livestock grazing improvements. For example, 
wildlife in a desert have largely evolved without 
access to surface water. Developing water in 
such an area may benefit a few wildlife species, 
allowing them to move into the immediate area 
of the water, an action largely supported by big 
game hunters. But as water-dependant species 
move into an area, they displace many species 
that evolved in the area but have no water 
dependence. Water-dependent species moving 
into just a few areas may not be significant, but 
as more and more waters are developed for 
livestock, the cumulative impact on wildlife not 
depending on surface water may become signifi- 
cant. An objective of Rangeland Reform '94 is 
to recognize, restore, and maintain natural 
ecosystem function. Displacing certain wildlife 
species does not promote this objective. The 
effect of livestock-related developments on 
specific wildlife species depends on the type of 
development, its location, and the species that 
have evolved naturally in the area. The effective- 
ness of turning the livestock water off to lessen 
the opportunities for establishment of water- 
dependent species would depend largely on the 
season the livestock were using the water. 

4. Comment: Livestock numbers should be reduced, 
and ranchers should be compensated by paying 
them via the grazing fee receipts to grow, man- 
age, and feed migrating wildlife, mainly deer 
and elk, during winter. This approach would 
give ranchers a source of income and would be 
environmentally responsible. Additionally, graz- 
ing fee receipts can be used to fund wildlife 



habitat improvement projects. Ranchers do not 
charge the government for wildlife that graze on 
private land. Perhaps they should. Who pays for 
feeding elk on private property? 

Response: Neither BLM nor the Forest Service 
has the authority to compensate ranchers to 
provide feed for wildlife, and this issue is be- 
yond the scope of this document and Rangeland 
Reform. Managing wildlife populations is the 
responsibility of state wildlife management 
agencies. Currently and under Rangeland Re- 
form '94 wildlife habitat improvement projects 
would be developed with grazing fee receipts. 

5. Comment: Under the No Grazing alternative 
who would maintain the water projects, and at 
what cost? This issue needs more analysis. 

Response: If this alternative were implemented, 
the agencies would maintain water projects that 
would be deemed important for wildlife or other 
values. 

6. Comment: The impacts of range improvement 
construction and road building on wildlife should 
be considered. 

Response: The National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) requires that the significant impacts 
to any resource resulting from a major federal 
action (including range improvements and road 
building) would be assessed before construction 
or implementation. These NEPA documents are 
completed at the local field office level of both 
BLM and the Forest Service. 

7. Comment: The report entitled "Grazing to 
Extinction" shows that decreases in wildlife 
between 1982-1993 are due to livestock grazing. 
This decline has more than one cause: drought, 
severe winters, lack of predator control, reduced 
habitat because of development of private lands, 
etc. 

Response: There are many factors in addition to 
improper livestock grazing management that 
have resulted in the decline of certain wildlife 
species in the West. Livestock grazing on public 
lands has had widespread effects on wildlife 
habitat overall. As a case in point, the decline in 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 88 



riparian habitat quality and quantity compared to 
historic levels resulting largely from livestock 
grazing, has resulted in the listing of many 
species dependant on functioning riparian com- 
munities. As an additional note, the lack of 
predator control is not considered over all to be 
a detriment to wildlife. Predator control is a 
human action usually undertaken to protect 
livestock and personal property. As a result of 
this human activity, populations of certain spe- 
cies of wildlife have increased. Some of these 
population increases have benefitted man (big 
game) while others have caused additional 
problems (i.e. rodent infestations, elk and deer 
competing for livestock forage, etc.). The effects 
of drought serve as an example of a situation 
that has been magnified by improper livestock 
grazing management. Here again the deteriorated 
condition of riparian resources can serve as a 
prime example. If all riparian resources across 
the west were in proper functioning condition, 
water tables would remain high and perennial or 
late season flows would be maintained, even 
during droughts, minimizing dry season impacts. 
The water storage capability of a functioning 
watershed is enormous, and the loss of this 
capability is most significant to wildlife, live- 
stock, and people. 

Comment: No fences that can impede pronghorn 
antelope movement should be allowed. Reintro- 
ducing the buffalo east of the Rocky Mountain 
front should be considered. The EIS should 
consider the impact of grazing on ground-nesting 
birds and other animals. 

Response: Standard fence designs have been 
developed to allow the movement of specific 
wildlife species. Based on extensive research and 
the needs of individual species, these designs are 
routinely used today. In the case of pronghorn 
antelope, which prefer to pass under fences 
rather than jumping over them, fence design 
includes a smooth bottom wire elevated to allow 
passage. Reintroducing bison east of the Rocky 
Mountains or any native species to habitats in 
which they evolved is a distinct possibility that 
would be evaluated during site-specific imple- 
mentation planning. The impact of grazing on 
ground-nesting birds was discussed in the Chap- 
ters 3 and 4 of the draft EIS. 



10. 



Comment: Over the past quarter century wildlife 
numbers on public land have dramatically in- 
creased, largely due to the presence of livestock 
grazing (USDI-BLM, Director's Bulletin No. 89- 
03, 1989). The use of properly prescribed live- 
stock grazing to manipulate vegetation to benefit 
wildlife is well documented. Elk, deer, and 
bighorn sheep have increased by 100 to 800 
percent in Colorado. These increases are not the 
result of declining public land habitat. Range- 
land Reform '94 attempts to fix something that is 
not broken. Wildlife numbers increase due to 
improvements made by ranchers. Livestock 
grazing can also be used to alter plant growth 
forms to benefit wildlife, such as hedging 
bitterbrush to keep it within reach of mule deer. 

Response: Proper grazing management and the 
rangeland improvements built to improve live- 
stock distribution or protect private property 
have benefitted certain species of wildlife (deer, 
elk, pronghorn). For that matter, virtually any 
human use of rangeland resources would benefit 
some wildlife species. But this is not necessarily 
the case for wildlife in general. Many wildlife 
species have been harmed by improper grazing 
management, a fact supported by extensive 
research and by the growing number of species 
being listed as threatened or endangered in the 
West. The agencies must carefully ensure that 
resource use would be managed to protect range- 
land health and function of natural systems, not 
just a few animal species. 

Comment: The statement "General vegetation 
changes would favor species associated with 
upper serai stages " contradicts the assumption of 
downward trend (page 4-25). You can't have 
"upper serai stages " with a downward trend in 
condition. Mule deer are mid-seral species 
virtually everywhere, and elk mostly prefer mid- 
seral areas. The 1990 BLM publication on Range 
Condition and Big Game numbers must be cited 
with appropriate figures for each species over 
time. It appears that trends in big game popula- 
tions would be the same regardless of which 
alternative is chosen; therefore the dire predic- 
tions about trends of riparian areas and their 
effects on big game numbers under Alternative 1 
- Current Management and Alternative 3 - Live- 
stock Production are false. 



89 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Response: In response to this comment, changes 
to the text of the final EIS have been added to 
allow a clearer understanding of the relationship 
between big game and how the Preferred Alter- 
native deals with habitats. Generally the current 
condition of upland range administered by the 
BLM is static to a slightly upward trend as stated 
on page 3-27. Implementing Rangeland Reform 
'94 would accelerate this upward trend toward 
the desired future condition of plant communi- 
ties. As this occurs, vegetative species domi- 
nance, density, and distribution would change. 
Rangelands now dominated by shrubs in many 
areas would convert to historic perennial grass- 
lands over the long term. As vegetation changes, 
wildlife species occurrence would also change. 
A simplified example would be the following: 
the common occurrence of a big game browser 
(deer) that depends on shrubs in a specific area 
would shift to the big game grazer (elk) that 
prefers perennial grasses. This is a general 
statement, and many other factors (wildfire, 
drought, land treatments) would provide habitat 
for species that prefer earlier successional stages 
or vegetation communities. The presence of 
proper functioning riparian areas generally gives 
big game species protective cover for rest and 
bearing and rearing of young, reliable water 
sources, and food not necessarily required but 
not otherwise available. As a result, if an alter- 
native reduces the condition and quality of 
riparian areas, big game would be generally be 
harmed. The improved condition of riparian 
areas would generally benefit big game. 



related land treatments is offered in Serena 
(1982), Stafford and Valentine (1985), Valentine 
et al. (1988), Hanna (1928), May field (1977), 
Flett and Sanders (1987), Klebenow and Oakleaf 
(1984), Taylor (1986), Taylor and Littlefield 
(1986), and Harris et al. (1987). These sources 
are cited in the Proposed Rule to list the South- 
western Willow Flycatcher, Federal Register 
Vol. 58, No. 140, Friday, July 23, 1993, pp. 
39495-39522. Some recent publications on the 
cowbird issue include the following. 

Bock, C.E., V.A. Saab, T.D. Rich, and D.S. 
Dobkin. 1993. "Effects of Livestock Graz- 
ing on Neotropical Migratory Landbirds in 
Western North America." Status and Man- 
agement of Neotropical Migratory Birds, 
edited by D.M. Finch and P.W. Stange, 
296-309. General Technical Report RM- 
229. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Ser- 
vice, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range 
Experiment Station. 

Brittingham, M.C., and S.A. Temple. 1983. 
"Have Cowbirds Caused Forest Songbirds to 
Decline?" BioScience 33:31-35. 

Harris, J.H. 1991. "Effects of Brood Parasitism 
by Brown-Headed Cowbirds on Willow 
Flycatcher Nesting Success along the Kern 
River, California." Western Birds 22:3-26. 

Rich, T., and S.I. Rothstein. 1985. "Sage 
Thrashers Reject Cowbird Eggs." Condor 
87:561-562. 



1 1 . Comment: If cowbirds increase with livestock, 
cite some published confirmation. It is stated on 
page 3-49 of the draft EIS that indirect impacts 
of livestock grazing, such as the increase of 
cowbirds, can reduce the nesting success of 
endangered species. No solid evidence was 
presented in the draft EIS which indicated, that 
livestock grazing in riparian areas has any 
significant impact on the southwest willow fly- 
catcher; therefore, the statement is speculation 
and should be deleted. 

Response: The statement of page 3-49 concern- 
ing cowbirds is well-established fact. Impacts to 
willow flycatchers from livestock or livestock- 



Robinson, S.K. et al. 1993. "Management Impli- 
cations of Cowbird Parasitism on 
Neotropical Migrant Songbirds." Status and 
Management of Neotropical Migratory 
Birds, edited by D.M. Finch and P.W. 
Stange, 93-102. General Technical Report 
RM-229. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest 
Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range 
Experiment Station. 

Rothstein, S.I. 1980. Range Expansion and 
Diurnal Changes in Dispersion of the 
Brown-Headed Cowbird in the Sierra Ne- 
vada." Auk 97:253-267. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 90 



Terborgh, J.W. 1989. Where Have All the Birds 
Gone? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press. 

Trail, P.W., and L.F. Baptista. 1993. "The 
Impact of Brown-Headed Cowbird Parasit- 
ism on Populations of the Nuttal's White- 
Crowned Sparrow." Conservation Biology 
7:309-315. 

12. Comment: The statement that "when not in 
proper functioning condition this type can be less 
valuable for Montezuma and scaled quail " is 
another example of baseless statements made in 
this section of the draft EIS. Can the southwest 
shrub steppe be only in "proper functioning 
condition" when it meets the habitat require- 
ments for scaled quail, i.e. predominantly grass- 
lands ? 

Response: Species that depend on native peren- 
nial grasses benefit when range conditions are at 
their best. The potential natural vegetation in this 
community is dominated by native perennial 
grasses and a very small shrub component. 
Livestock as well as most wildlife species would 
benefit from this vegetation type if the potential 
natural vegetation community could be achieved 
and maintained in proper functioning condition 
(PFC). When range condition is less than opti- 
mal, fewer grasses are present, shrubs dominate 
the vegetation community, and species which do 
not depend on the presence of native perennial 
grasses are favored. Not all habitat in this vege- 
tation type needs to be in a climax serai stage to 
be in proper functioning condition (PFC) at any 
one time. Natural events such as wildfire and 
drought would always maintain some diversity of 
habitat at various serai levels, even under opti- 
mal range conditions. This natural diversity of 
habitats is most desirable and maintains the 
greatest biological diversity overall. But to 
achieve this desirable condition, rangelands need 
to be in proper functioning condition (PFC) 
overall. 

13. Comment: On page 3-48 the draft EIS wants to 
"substantially increase acres not grazed to help 
neotropical migrant birds. " But the draft EIS 
also states that the "effects of grazing on these 
birds are not known. " Grazing may actually 



benefit these birds since they evolved with 1,000 
years of grazing on the Upper Great Plains. 
Livestock grazing to the detriment of migratory 
birds should not be part of the Proposed Action. 

Response: We do not fully understand the 
consequences of livestock grazing for all species 
of neotropical migratory birds, but what we do 
know suggests that improper livestock grazing 
management contributes to the decline in many 
of these species and favors a few. The reduction 
in the quality and amount of riparian habitat, 
whether caused by improper livestock grazing or 
other impacts, contributes to the decline of 
many of these migrant birds 

14. Comment: Several comments dealt with wild 
horse and burro issues, some opposing the use of 
rangeland by these animals, other favoring such 
use: Repeal the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 
1971 because it wastes forage for both wildlife 
and livestock. Wild horses and burros compete 
with wildlife for forage and water and degrade 
range conditions. Remove wild horses and burros 
from the public land. Wild horses are not native. 
Control their numbers. The economic well being 
of ranchers should outweigh that of wild horses 
and burros. Why are wild horses and burros 
allowed to graze yearlong and such use by 
livestock is discouraged under the proposed 
standards and guidelines? The draft EIS assumes 
that any overgrazing is entirely due to livestock. 
Management standards for livestock must also be 
applied to wild horses if the standards are to 
achieve rangeland health objectives. Give the 
wild horses and burros priority over livestock. 
Don't cut up the range with fences or make 
horses compete with livestock for water and 
forage. 

Response: Management of wild horses and 
burros is beyond the scope of Rangeland Reform 
'94. If regional standards and guidelines are 
developed in those areas where wild horses and 
burros are contributing to poor ecosystem health 
and nonfunctioning conditions, corrective actions 
would be expected. 

15. Comment: Due to the fact that predators are 
highly impacted by livestock grazing use, and 
because they are of primary importance to 



91 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



ecosystems, an EIS that does not analyze the 
impacts to them would have to be regarded as 
fatally flawed. The considerable financial savings 
associated with the elimination of predator 
control associated with grazing use, not to 
mention the current decimation of predator 
populations with concurrent destabilization of 
ecosystems, demand that an impact analysis of 
grazing on predators be included. 

Response: The draft EIS has included predators 
in the upland game and nongame category for 
this programmatic and national scope analysis. 
The impacts for this category are identified in 
Chapter 4 and, relative to expected changes in 
vegetative communities and habitat components 
by alternative, appropriately describe impacts to 
predator populations. Much existing work has 
been completed on NEPA documentation relative 
to the implementation of the Animal Damage 
Control programs throughout federal lands in the 
west. This comment, as described on page 1-20 
of the draft EIS, is beyond the scope of the 
document. 

16. Comment: The draft EIS is broad and does not 
adequately address the impacts of the alterna- 
tives on fish and wildlife species dependent on 
public rangelands for all, or part, of their life 
history. The document places all fish, amphibi- 
ans, birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates 
as one value to be impacted. The draft EIS must 
analyze and disclose how livestock affect wildlife 
from a competitive standpoint, including: spacial 
and temporal competition, displacement, compe- 
tition for food resources, and indirect effects 
such as grazing impacts to wildlife cover. 

Response: The draft EIS is a national level and 
programmatic analysis and as such cannot ad- 
dress all site specific impacts to all species. The 
Preferred Alternative calls for the development 
of regional or state standards and guidelines. As 
these standards and guidelines would differ from 
region to region based on specific differences in 
abiotic and biotic interactions within these areas, 
a more specific and detailed analysis of species 
specific impacts would be addressed at this level. 
The draft EIS does categorize wildlife species 
into the general groupings of big game, upland 
game and non-game, waterfowl, raptors, resident 



and anadromous fish, and special status species. 

17. Comment: Current Management is stated as 
improving upland and nongame populations. This 
conclusion is not supported by fact. The basis for 
this analysis and the specific data used to arrive 
at this conclusion should be displayed in the 
draft EIS. 

Response: Under current management, upland 
and nongame populations associated with im- 
proved upland range condition would improve 
slightly in some areas, especially in areas of high 
elevation with over 12 inches of precipitation. 
This conclusion is based on trends of reduced 
AUM use on federal lands continuing as de- 
scribed on page 4-19 and condition and trend 
information presented on page 3-26, 3-27, and 3- 
28. 

Associated Resources 

1 . Comment: The proposed regulations violate the 
intent of Congress; i.e., multiple use. Ranching 
is highly compatible with recreation because the 
ranchers maintain the roads that provide access 
to the public land. Recreation use and livestock 
grazing are compatible. Many users of the public 
land appreciate the opportunity to view cattle 
and sheep as well as game animals. Eliminating 
grazing in wilderness areas is contrary to the 
Wilderness Act; therefore grazing reductions in 
wilderness areas should not be considered in 
Rangeland Reform '94 without a change in 
legislation. The draft EIS makes overly broad 
and erroneous assumptions about the compatibil- 
ity of recreation and grazing. The draft EIS 
makes the assumptions that "[current livestock 
grazing generally degrades the quality of recre- 
ation user experiences" and that "[recreation 
users are becoming increasingly sensitized to 
intrusions, including livestock and structural 
range improvements. " (4-16) These assumptions 
are not based on facts. It is the self-serving 
opinion of the environment interest groups. Many 
recreationists enjoy seeing cattle and sheep, 
cowboys on horseback, and, with luck, a 
roundup, in the mountains as an opportunity to 
experience a taste of the old West. It cannot be 
assumed that hunter, hikers, off-highway vehicle 
users, and weekend archaeologists and historians 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 92 



all believe that their outdoor experience is 
degraded by livestock grazing. The conclusion 
made by the draft EIS is speculative, self-serv- 
ing, and factually in error. 

Response: Rangeland Reform '94 is consistent 
with multiple use. The Preferred Alternative 
does not require any shift from grazing to recre- 
ation uses. Certainly, in some areas a change 
will result, but for the most part such change 
would be better managed grazing. Where proper 
livestock grazing is compatible with healthy 
ecosystems, grazing would continue. As regional 
standards and guidelines are developed, recre- 
ation and other uses of the land would also need 
to conform to such standards and guidelines. 

The referenced statements from the draft EIS 
reflect the view of many recreationists. The 
commenter is correct, however, in stating that 
these opinions can not be applied in blanket 
fashion to all recreation users. Some 
recreationists enjoy seeing livestock, others are 
neutral, and others do not. Recreation and 
proper livestock grazing are compatible for the 
bulk of public lands. 

2. Comment: Recreation and Wilderness should not 
be grouped together. "Wilderness " is a resource 
representing a wide composition of other disci- 
plines, whereas "recreation " is but one compo- 
nent. Recognize Wilderness for its own identity. 

Response: Agreed. Recreation and Wilderness 
are not combined in either Chapter 3, Affected 
Environment, or Chapter 4, Environmental 
Consequences. 

3. Comment: Rangeland Reform '94 would likely 
decrease public recreation access because access 
is usually denied when ranches are sold to 
nonranching or "hobby" ranch owners or private 
land is developed. The draft EIS fails to address 
this impact. 

Response: The economic and social impact 
sections of the draft EIS (pages 4-54 and 4-62) 
recognize that Rangeland Reform '94 could 
potentially contribute to the ongoing trend in 
subdivision of ranch properties or the loss of 
recreational access. 



In many areas throughout the West landowner- 
ship is intermingled, and permittees could profit 
from closing private lands and limiting access to 
adjacent public lands. Change in land use from 
ranching to subdivision development could vary 
from no change to significant change, depending 
on the local economies, the land ownership 
pattern, the recreational value of the land, and 
the amount of change engendered in the local 
area by the Proposed Action. 

4. Comment: The environmental consequences of 
the Proposed Action as it relates to Wilderness 
values and management are not clearly ex- 
plained. 

Response: The draft EIS Proposed Action 
sections in the Executive Summary and Chapter 
4 describing the environmental consequences to 
Wilderness are adequate for a programmatic 
rangeland EIS; however, the following informa- 
tion provided by commenters gives a more 
detailed description of these environmental 
consequences. 

Projected habitat developments would benefit 
ecological values of Wilderness and Wilderness 
Study Areas. However, continued livestock and 
range development projects may negatively 
impact naturalness as well as primitive and 
unconfined recreation. Additional developments 
would add to the human influence of an affected 
Wilderness or Wilderness Study Area, which 
would increase the evidence or presence of 
human activity. The general rule within Wilder- 
ness or Wilderness Study Areas is that range 
improvements would not be allowed unless they 
clearly benefit Wilderness resources and would 
be primarily for the purpose of resource protec- 
tion and more effective management of those 
resources. Structures may be placed to enhance 
ecological conditions. Once an ecological condi- 
tion or Wilderness objective has been met, the 
structure normally would be removed unless it 
was necessary to maintain Wilderness rangeland 
conditions. An example would be a fence to 
protect vegetation following a wildfire. 

Riparian Health/Condition 



93 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



1 . Comment: The draft EIS lacks data to support 
the assumption of a widespread downward trend. 
The following statement is false: "Riparian areas 
are in the worst condition in history. " BLM 
ignores current and historic documentation. 
Nearly all ranchers use a rest-rotation grazing 
program in riparian areas as well as in uplands. 
Photographs show that riparian areas are better 
than in the past. Riparian quality is stable and is 
improving in some instances. The proposal is a 
"scare tactic. " The following statement from the 
draft EIS is also false: "the downward riparian 
trend results from the difficulty of preventing 
livestock from congregating in riparian areas 
and the current amount of continuous season- 
long grazing in riparian habitats. " In the past 
decade, both agencies have improved their 
emphasis on riparian management, and it is rare 
or unlikely that livestock continuously graze in 
riparian habitat. In the past decade many allot- 
ments have been cut back by 10-30 percent. 
Haven't these management changes improved 
riparian areas? If not, the final EIS should 
explain why. 

Response: The statement, "Riparian areas are 
in the worst condition in history.", was taken 
from a 1990 EPA document entitled "Livestock 
Grazing on Western Riparian Areas" and is a 
general statement that applies to riparian areas 
throughout the West. The draft EIS cites only a 
few of the scientific studies that have been 
conducted confirming degraded riparian-wetland 
area conditions. This degradation is further 
documented by data on the functioning condition 
of riparian areas. Shown in tables in Chapter 3 
of the draft EIS, this data was solicited from all 
BLM and Forest Service field offices during the 
compilation of information for this document. As 
stated in the draft EIS, riparian area condition 
has improved in localized areas where proper 
management, including strict controls of live- 
stock grazing, have been undertaken. Rangeland 
Reform '94 has not ignored historic documenta- 
tion, but, in fact recognizes that much of the 
degraded riparian condition resulted from im- 
proper grazing management near the turn of the 
century. While grazing management has signifi- 
cantly improved over time, generally resulting in 
improved upland range conditions, livestock 
grazing management within many riparian com- 



munities has not been improved sufficiently. 
Degradation continues in many places due to 
improper grazing management. If left 
unmanaged, livestock tend to stay in riparian 
communities until they have used all available 
forage and/or have caused damage to soil, water, 
and other resources. Grazing systems like rest- 
rotation do not generally allow enough rest to 
restore these fragile areas unless a system is 
designed for that purpose. Although both BLM 
and the Forest Service have increased their 
emphasis on riparian management, continuous 
season-long grazing continues in many areas of 
the West. 

A most recent technical paper that further attests 
to the existing deteriorated condition of western 
riparian communities is as follows: 

Armour, C, D. Duff, and W. Elmore. 1994. 
"The Effects of Livestock Grazing on Western 
Riparian and Stream Ecosystems." Fisheries 
19(9):9-12. 

Comment: Some commenters believe that live- 
stock grazing should be removed from all ripar- 
ian areas, others believe that proper livestock 
management is the key to riparian improvement. 
Proper grazing should be the top priority for the 
agency. Not all ranchers abuse the land. Ranch- 
ers should be rewarded for proper grazing, and 
fined severely for noncompliance. 

Response: Though removing livestock from all 
riparian areas would improve most of these areas 
to a functioning condition, proper livestock 
grazing can be compatible with ecosystem 
health, even in riparian areas. A healthy prop- 
erly functioning riparian community may sustain 
a certain degree of well-managed livestock 
grazing. (The key is limiting grazing duration 
and intensity, and then allowing enough rest for 
complete recovery). Proper grazing management 
is one of the main objectives of Rangeland 
Reform '94. More importantly, BLM and the 
Forest Service's goal is to restore all rangeland 
ecosystems (including riparian communities) to 
proper functioning condition over the long term. 
Riparian communities are an integral part of 
most watersheds, landscapes, and ecosystems. 
Although ecosystem or watershed function 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 94 



improves with proper functioning riparian com- 
munities, these communities are only one part of 
the overall system. Ecosystems function best 
when all components (including riparian and 
upland systems) are in proper functioning condi- 
tion. A proper functioning ecosystem is healthy 
and supports the greatest natural biological 
diversity. 

3. Comment: All grazing systems for riparian areas 
must consist of at least five-pasture deferred or 
six-pasture rest-rotation systems. Anything less 
would not meet riparian objectives. 

Response: The variability of plant communities 
across the West is high, and a management 
system that meets riparian management objec- 
tives in one area may fail in another. A riparian 
community in Oregon having stable soils and 
high annual precipitation may need only one year 
of rest out of three to maintain proper function- 
ing condition. But a riparian community in New 
Mexico, having extremely erosive soils and 
slight annual precipitation, may require four 
years of rest out of five to maintain proper 
functioning condition. No single grazing system 
or management action works in all areas all the 
time. Resource conditions, management objec- 
tives, techniques, and knowledge change over 
time, and agencies must remain flexible to 
respond with a variety of management options . 

4. Comment: All cloven footed animals congregate 
around water; not just livestock. Elk are known 
to tromp out riparian areas. Factors other than 
livestock grazing are responsible for much of the 
damage that continues to occur, including wal- 
lows tramped out by elk in sensitive meadows, 
wild horses, etc. The graph on page 47 of the 
Executive Summary shows that 100 percent of the 
Forest Service riparian areas would be meeting 
objectives by banning livestock use. This is 
contradictory because wild horses and burros 
would continue to use riparian areas at current 
levels. 

Response: Many animals (including wild horses 
and burros) congregate around water at some 
point. In some areas over utilization by wildlife 
is a problem and is dealt with on a case-by-case 
basis. Few wildlife species, however, congregate 



in the numbers or duration of livestock. Wild 
ungulates generally develop migration patterns 
and systematically move over a wide range 
minimizing their impact on an ecosystem in 
which they have evolved over centuries. Live- 
stock generally have not evolved with the eco- 
systems that they inhabit, and humans have 
seriously constrained most migratory move- 
ments, confining large numbers of animals for 
long periods of time in a limited amount of 
preferred habitat. This long-term concentration 
in preferred habitat (riparian areas preferred by 
livestock) has resulted in most of the degradation 
we see today. Recreation uses (including offroad 
vehicle use and heavy use areas such as camp- 
sites and trails) can also damage resources 
around water and other attractants, but these 
uses affect site-specific areas. This is beyond the 
scope of Rangeland Reform '94. 

5 . Comment: Cattle are the most valuable tool in 
managing riparian areas. Well-managed live- 
stock eat off tall grass thus reducing fire danger 
and preparing a seedbed for the next year's 
grass. 

Response: While consuming forage, livestock do 
reduce potential wildfire fuels. But fire is a 
natural occurrence in most ecosystems of the 
West. The evolution of most vegetation commu- 
nities has been largely influenced by the rela- 
tively frequent occurrence of wildfire. Human- 
induced suppression of naturally occurring 
wildfire has contributed significantly in altering 
the diversity, density, and species dominance of 
natural vegetation communities. Prescribed 
burning is becoming an often used management 
tool benefitting livestock, wildlife, soils, and 
vegetation. 

6. Comment: All livestock facilities in riparian 
areas should be removed, not just livestock. 
Roading along streambanks should be addressed. 
How far from the riparian area can facilities 
(salt, corrals, etc.) be placed? If a "riparian 
pasture" would be considered a holding facility, 
then riparian pastures-a valuable management 
tool— cannot be used. 

Response: National requirements and state or 
regional standards and guidelines for rangeland 



95 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



administration require any facility that conflicts 
with proper functioning to be placed outside 
riparian-wetland areas. Standards and guidelines 
developed at the regional and state level would 
establish criteria relating to specific management 
actions on riparian- wetland communities. The 
main criterion is that no management action 
conflict with the proper functioning of a riparian- 
wetland area. The same would hold true for uses 
of a riparian pasture: no action should be al- 
lowed that would conflict with the area's proper 
functioning. 

7. Comment: The definition for "riparian" in the 
draft EIS (page 3-29) does not match the defini- 
tion in BLM's 1737 Technical Reference. The 
arroyo series should be dropped since these are 
not true riparian areas. Ephemeral water courses 
are not riparian. The term "proper functioning 
riparian system " cannot be defined or measured. 
Commonly accepted riparian areas such as 
seeps, springs, mesic and xeric meadows, and 
aspen groves are not included in the riparian- 
wetland area definitions. These areas are impor- 
tant to natural diversity and wildlife and need to 
be included in the definitions and subsequent 
management requirements. Figure S-4 on page 
26 of the Executive Summary shows that 46 
percent of BLM riparian lands are functioning at 
risk. The term "functioning at risk" needs to be 
better defined and explained in far more detail. 
How many of these areas are actually being 
damaged? The Forest Service classification 
system, which shows trend as well as the current 
condition, is far more useful. 

Response: The draft EIS did contain some 
inconsistent uses of terminology. In the final 
EIS, we have tried to be more consistent with 
terminology. The agencies have the responsibil- 
ity to protect and improve all wetlands (including 
riparian areas). Much of the vegetation associ- 
ated with arroyos and ephemeral streams consists 
of true riparian habitat. In many cases this 
riparian vegetation is what remains of what 
historically bordered perennial streams, some of 
which could be restored to perennial flow if 
protected and properly managed. The term 
"proper functioning condition" for riparian 
habitats has been defined in the glossary of the 
final EIS as well as have associated terms such 



as "nonfunctioning condition" and "functioning 
at risk. " 

8. Comment: The draft EIS fails to recognize the 
impact of saltcedar on riparian areas. Can 
saltcedar be removed under this proposal? 

Response: The removal of saltcedar within 
riparian communities is beyond the scope of 
Rangeland Reform. Nothing in Rangeland Re- 
form '94 prohibits removal of saltcedar, Russian 
olive, or other introduced exotic species from 
riparian communities. 

9. Comment: Much natural erosion of drainage 
areas has nothing to do with livestock. All ripar- 
ian areas are not equal. Many riparian areas are 
radically damaged each year by natural phenom- 
ena such as flash floods and wildfire. Potential 
for improving riparian areas is limited by the 
underlying geologic structure. The Clean Water 
Act is important when considering the effects of 
wading, mining development, and timber opera- 
tions. Grazing practices to restore or improve 
water quality may take longer than the start of 
the next grazing season. The Clean Water Act 
has been seriously compromised by violations in 
wetlands. The plant and animal components of 
healthy wetlands all contribute to higher water 
quality and more stable water tables. Factors 
other than livestock grazing are responsible for 
much of the damage that continues, including 
off-road vehicle use, foot traffic along hiking 
trails, and disturbance around campsites. A 
natural background of erosion exists irrespective 
of livestock grazing. Perhaps the erosion require- 
ment would have some utility in the tall grass 
prairie, but it is not realistic in the desert shrub 
or pinyon-juniper biomes. 

Response: Natural erosion occurs in all 
drainages and is a normal occurrence in all 
functioning ecosystems. Many natural events 
(fire, floods) contribute to natural erosion, but 
the impact of these natural events is often magni- 
fied to accelerated erosion due to deteriorated 
watershed conditions resulting from improper 
livestock grazing management. Accelerated 
erosion (defined in Glossary) results from some 
human action that reduces an area's normal soil 
stability. In many areas of the West, improper 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 96 



livestock grazing management is a significant 
cause of accelerated erosion. No other human 
use of the public lands is as widespread as 
livestock grazing. Other factors contributing to 
accelerated erosion include road construction, 
maintenance, and runoff; recreation trail devel- 
opment; off-road vehicle use; mining; timber 
harvesting; and wildfire. Minimizing the amount 
of accelerated erosion is critical to maintaining 
water quality and a necessary action to comply 
with the Clean Water Act. The key management 
objective of Rangeland Reform '94 is to reestab- 
lish a functioning healthy ecosystem that mini- 
mizes accelerated erosion of soils, thereby 
improving water quality and late-season quantity, 
and providing high quality habitat for fish and 
wildlife and sustainable forage for livestock and 
wildlife. 

10. Comment: Here is a suggested criterion for 
determining the priority for riparian improve- 
ment: (1) Within 3 years of the final rule, clas- 
sify all riparian areas (except Alaska) by func- 
tioning. (2) All allotments with riparian areas 
not in proper functioning condition should be 
reviewed for compliance with national require- 
ments and standards; 3.) At the end of 3 years 
no grazing would be allowed on any riparian 
areas that are not in proper functioning condi- 
tion or that have not been reviewed for compli- 
ance, etc. 

Response: The suggested sequence of riparian 
areas management actions is similar to that 
proposed by the BLM in the draft EIS. The 3- 
year timeframe for implementation is relatively 
consistent with the Proposed Action. The only 
difference of significance is the suggestion that 
nonfunctioning riparian areas would not be 
grazed. BLM proposes that at functioning "at 
risk" areas grazing would continue, but would be 
managed to achieve riparian area management 
objectives to reestablish proper functioning 
condition. 

11. Comment: How would the BLM determine 
"properly functioning riparian-wetland areas " ? 
Why not look at riparian ecological status rather 
than functioning condition ? 



Response: BLM has developed a method for 
determining the functioning condition of riverine 
riparian-wetland areas, those associated with 
rivers and streams (BLM Technical Reference 
TR- 1737-9) and is developing similar methods 
for lacustrine and palustrine habitats, those 
associated with lakes or marshes respectively 
(BLM Technical Reference TR 1737-11). The 
basis of these determinations is that they are 
conducted by an interdisciplinary team looking at 
a wide variety of parameters before making 
decisions on functionality. BLM has also devel- 
oped technical procedures for determining eco- 
logical site potential for riparian areas; however, 
these procedures require much more time to 
conduct relative to the less intensive determina- 
tion of functioning condition. BLM intends to 
determine functioning condition on all riparian 
communities in the short term to help implement 
Rangeland Reform '94 and then to follow up 
with a complete ecological site inventory in areas 
where intensive management or more data is 
needed. 

12. Comment: Effective environmental education, 
based on the riparian ecological research being 
conducted by BLM and academia, is in the best 
interest of all users of the public lands. Develop- 
ing the shared vision and educating user groups 
has been a key to the success of the Utah Ripar- 
ian Management Coalition. Many streams have 
improved riparian conditions compatible with 
continued livestock grazing. There is no reason 
this type of upward trend in riparian areas 
cannot be sustained under Current Management. 

Response: Actually this is true and is occurring 
in a few areas. Nothing in current management 
prevents broad-scale watershed management 
partnerships from forming and being highly 
effective. But current management lacks the 
incentives needed to pursue these type of man- 
agement agreements nationwide or on a large 
scale. Given the widespread deteriorated condi- 
tion of riparian resources throughout the West, 
the critical need for rapid changes in manage- 
ment on a large scale is the basic impetus of 
Rangeland Reform '94. 

13. Comment: Livestock grazing has severely de- 
graded almost all of the streams and riparian 



91 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



areas throughout the West. In many areas on 
BLM- and Forest Service-administered land, 
heavy grazing and trampling by livestock have 
turned lush creek bottoms into deep gullies. 
Water tables have been lowered, and large wet 
meadows have been turned into dry sagebrush 
flats. Recreationists and cattle conflict in ripar- 
ian areas because both seek the lush vegetation 
and proximity to water. 

Response: These are exactly some of the im- 
pacts of improper livestock grazing management 
that Rangeland Reform '94 is designed to allevi- 
ate over time. While livestock grazing and 
recreation do conflict in some riparian areas, 
both agencies are mandated to manage rangeland 
resources (including riparian areas) for multiple 
uses. Through proper management of all compat- 
ible uses, BLM and the Forest Service intend to 
allow both uses in most areas while restoring 
and maintaining proper functioning condition and 
overall ecosystem health. At some specific 
locations, the need to protect the basic function 
of a critical riparian community for the benefit 
of the watershed or ecosystem as a whole may 
preclude any direct use. Management prescrip- 
tions for specific areas would be handled on a 
case-by -case basis at the field-office level . 

14. Comment: Livestock grazing in riparian areas 
enables people to see through, walk through, and 
ride through the areas. After 34 years of nonuse 
some riparian areas are so thick with trees and 
brush that they are impassable. The grass 
understory has died out and the water has all 
dried up because it is used by the trees and 
brush. 



table, provide large woody material to improve 
aquatic habitat, or simply to maintain vigor and 
high productivity of the vegetation. But the idea 
that streams dry up because all the water is used 
by the vegetation is not correct. In fact the 
opposite is true. Riparian vegetation is a neces- 
sity, resulting in the capture of sediments, 
building of stable streambanks, and raising water 
tables allowing massive water storage in the 
accumulated soils. Stored waters then leach out 
through capillary action to extend streamfiows 
yearlong or well into the dry season, a signifi- 
cant benefit to all users of the public lands. 
Without a functioning riparian community, 
erosion rapidly accelerates, streambanks are 
washed away, soils dry out, water storage capa- 
bilities are lost, precipitation flows away in flood 
events saving nothing for late season or yearlong 
flows, and the stream drys up. 

15. Comment: The term "in balance with the land- 
scape setting " means little without a great deal 
of explanation. The current BLM riparian check- 
list was put into effect with little scientific scru- 
tiny or review. Stream segments may be out of 
balance because of geologic, climate, and soil 
erosion processes rather than as a result of 
human management or influences. The entire 
watershed perspective is important. Riparian 
protection alone cannot provide the framework 
for the maintenance and recovery of aquatic 
ecosystems in rangelands. Processes throughout 
the watershed drive aquatic ecosystem health. 
Effective grazing regimes must be developed 
within a watershed perspective to be consistent 
with ecosystem recovery. The stream cannot be 
maintained independent of the uplands. 



Response: Riparian areas in general are unlikely 
to become so dense and overgrown that they 
impede human access. Once a trend toward 
proper functioning condition is reestablished, 
Rangeland Reform '94 would normally allow a 
certain degree of well managed livestock grazing 
to continue in many riparian communities. In 
well established riparian communities that have 
been in proper functioning condition long enough 
to have established large trees and shrubs, 
management may use other tools (fire, beaver) to 
inject some form of disturbance or use of the 
vegetation periodically to help raise the water 



Response: To manage riparian areas and all 
rangeland resources using an ecosystem perspec- 
tive is the ultimate goal of Rangeland Reform 
94. But we must recognize that in most water- 
sheds there are other land owners and managers 
who have the potential to affect watershed 
condition or ecosystem health as a whole. As a 
result, it is critical that management agreements 
and partnerships be developed by all land own- 
ers, where possible, to achieve agreed-upon 
watershed wide objectives and goals. Aquatic 
resources are particularly susceptible to impacts 
of upstream land uses and difficult to manage 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 98 



without cooperation of upland administrators. 
So, watersheds with perennial streams or those 
with potentials to reestablish perennial aquatic 
ecosystems are likely to be a priority in the 
developing management partnerships. In addi- 
tion, upland assessment and management proce- 
dures would compliment and be integrated with 
riparian area assessment and management proce- 
dures for a "holistic" watershed- wide manage- 
ment approach. 

16. Comment: Projections of the conditions on 
riparian areas show large differences among the 
alternatives. The interpretation of current condi- 
tions and trends are based almost entirely on the 
opinions of selected individuals. There are no 
references to substantiate "present " or "unknown 
condition " on 22 percent of the Forest Service 
and 55 percent of the BLM riparian areas. The 
differences in riparian condition among the 
alternatives are based on subjective estimates by 
selected people rather than on firm data and 
science. The draft EIS (pages 3-31, 3-32) states 
that most riparian areas are in a degraded 
condition due to livestock grazing. This statement 
reflects a General Accounting Office report 
concluding that 80 percent were degraded on the 
basis of a very limited inventory of riparian 
areas that extrapolated information from Idaho 
and Colorado to all rangeland riparian areas. 
These two assessments were not based on a 
comprehensive inventory and do not reflect 
conditions throughout the West. 

Response: Many scientific studies and invento- 
ries have been conducted in locations throughout 
the West (the findings of many have been sum- 
marized in the General Accounting Office report) 
confirming the general condition of riparian 
resources. The draft EIS cites only a few of 
these studies to document specific points. Al- 
though the functioning condition of riparian 
areas remains unknown on a large percentage of 
the lands administered by BLM and the Forest 
Service, we cannot assume that the condition of 
these areas differs significantly from those where 
functionality determinations have been made. 
Therefore, for the purposes of evaluation, known 
riparian area conditions have been extrapolated 
proportionally to unknown areas. Until site- 
specific evaluations of functionality can be made 



on all riparian areas, this is the best means of 
estimation we have. 

17. Comment: Water Quality and Hydrologic Func- 
tion. The BLM's TR 1737-9, 1994 separates 
hydrologic function, the stream's ability to 
dissipate watershed energy, from habitat condi- 
tion, the riparian area 's ability to support bio- 
logic diversity. This recent approach goes be- 
yond the simple classifications of good, fair, and 
poor. The "checklists" to determine riparian 
function are arbitrary and nonmeasurable. The 
"checklist" uses a qualitative approach that is 
highly influenced by the experience or bias of the 
observer. How much "landform" is required for 
proper riparian function ? 

Riparian management considers three very 
different functions that cannot be assessed or 
measured by a single set of criteria. Hydrologic 
function addresses the role of water flows in the 
drainage system. Streambank vegetation can 
decrease or increase water in the system and 
thus alter the hydrologic function. Suitable 
streambank vegetation needs to be better defined. 
Streambank stability is also related to vegetation, 
soil, and hydrologic function, but conclusions 
can only be drawn in the context of particular 
soil and the area 's geology. 

Response: The assessment of riparian area 
functionality is only the first step needed to 
determine and prioritize BLM management 
actions needed to reestablish a functioning 
condition. At this point, data collected is based 
on general observations made by an interdisci- 
plinary team. No measurements are required, but 
the team can take measurements if desired. This 
initial step is followed by establishing monitoring 
and/or trend studies (i.e. measurable data) 
sufficient to determine if management actions are 
achieving riparian management objectives over 
time. However, the lands covered by this EIS 
contain nearly 112,000 miles of streams and 
1,088,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs making 
intensive inventory of all associated riparian 
habitats impractical and unaffordable in the short 
term. 

Procedures to determine riparian area functional- 
ity, described in BLM Technical References TR- 



99 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



1737-9 (for flowing water sites) and TR-1737-11 
(for nonflowing sites), allow for relatively rapid, 
inexpensive assessment but are much more 
complex than a simple classification of good, 
fair, and poor. The assessment procedure evalu- 
ates a riparian areas relative to hydrologic 
function, soils and erosion potential, and the 
vegetation makeup of the community itself. 
While the condition and physical makeup of each 
one of these categories can influence the capabil- 
ity of the other categories, each one is a critical 
element in a functioning riparian community. 
This new procedure is based on ecosystem needs 
rather than the needs of a single resource. One 
of the problems of the old classification system 
was that determinations were based on one 
resource perspective (i.e. good for livestock 
forage, good for mule deer habitat, etc.). Now 
if a riparian area is determined to be properly 
functioning, it is assumed to be meeting the 
needs of the watershed/ecosystem as a whole, 
not those of a single resource. 

18. Comment: Livestock should be removed from 
nonfunctioning riparian communities until the 
communities are fully restored to proper func- 
tioning condition. 

Response: This is generally the direction 
Rangeland Reform '94 would take when live- 
stock are a contributing factor, as stated in the 
assumptions for the Proposed Action (page 4-18, 
Executive Summary). Obviously this action 
would not be undertaken immediately, but 
initiated over a period during which functional 
determinations would be made. As implementa- 
tion progresses, priorities would be given to 
areas where degradation to the riparian commu- 
nity directly results from livestock grazing or 
where grazing is shown to be aggravating an 
existing degraded condition. This action is not 
without problems and later may need to be 
modified, particularly as standards and guide- 
lines are developed for specific locations. For 
example, to require removal of livestock from all 
nonfunctioning riparian communities until they 
are fully restored to proper functioning condition 
removes the flexibility to develop or choose 
other effective management options and assumes 
that livestock grazing is the direct cause of all 
nonfunctioning riparian communities, which is 



simply not the case. Although this requirement 
would go a long way to restore degraded ripar- 
ian communities, it is not needed in all situa- 
tions. For example, livestock grazing may be 
responsible for riparian degradation in the head- 
waters of a large watershed, and that degraded 
condition is affecting water quality and runoff 
throughout the system. Complete rest from 
livestock grazing may be appropriate in the 
headwaters (area of direct livestock impact), but 
unnecessary downstream areas where heavy 
runoff resulting from the degraded upstream 
watershed is degrading streambank stability. To 
impose such a policy would unfairly penalize 
permittees who have developed good livestock 
management systems that protect and maintain 
the productivity of riparian areas. In some cases, 
proper functioning condition can be restored by 
manipulating livestock grazing intensity, season 
of use, distribution, and other factors. 

19. Comment: A BLM standard should be developed 
to allow no more than 25 percent streambank 
trampling. Once the standard is exceeded, 
complete rest should be required until 
streambank stability is restored. Utilization 
limits: spring at 60 percent, summer at 45 per- 
cent, and fall at 30 percent. 

Response: The suggestion to develop a BLM 
streambank stabilization standard or to impose 
utilization limits has merit. But because all 
streams, lakes, or wetlands, and their associated 
stabilizing riparian communities are not the 
same, each state or region is expected to con- 
sider developing specific standards that would 
meet the needs of their particular riparian eco- 
systems. These standards, if developed, may be 
designed for individual watersheds, soil types, or 
some other factor common to a group of similar 
riparian areas. Because not all riparian areas are 
the same, what is effective in one area may not 
work at all in other areas. 

20. Comment: Livestock should be fenced out of 
riparian areas to protect these fragile areas from 
long-term damage. To fence all riparian areas 
would be very expensive. People responsible for 
damaging riparian areas should pay the rehabili- 
tation costs. Livestock water should be pumped 
to a trough outside the fenced riparian area 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 100 



using small-scale technology (solar, wind 
power). The final EIS should show agency 
monitoring and fencing costs to protect riparian 
habitat for each alternative. What is the trespass 
penalty for livestock that intrude into riparian 
areas ? 

Response: While effective in many situations, 
fences are expensive to build and maintain. 
Other management options are also effective. In 
some situations the condition of riparian commu- 
nities reflects poor upstream watershed condi- 
tions and not livestock grazing in the immediate 
area. If fencing were the only management 
option, permittees who have developed good 
livestock management practices that effectively 
protect riparian communities and maintain proper 
functioning condition over the long term would 
be unfairly penalized. Fencing should be kept as 
one of many possible options but should not be 
considered the only option to control livestock 
impacts on riparian-wetland areas. Rangeland 
Reform '94 has no special unauthorized use 
regulation for cattle that intrude on riparian areas 
fenced and closed to grazing. The cattle would 
be treated as any other livestock found to be in 
trespass. Where fencing is used, water is often 
pumped to troughs outside the fence for livestock 
use. Many methods are used for pumping water, 
including solar and wind power. 

21. Comment: The draft EIS states that about 1 
percent of federal lands are riparian whose 
productivity belies their small area. The docu- 
ment fails to identify what percentage of livestock 
and wildlife forage is produced in such an 
environment. Chapter 3 needs more data on 
existing riparian conditions (forage from riparian 
areas and quantification of water developments) 
and Chapter 4 needs more data on the antici- 
pated consequences of affecting those resources. 
Otherwise the decision maker and public cannot 
reach a reasoned and informed conclusion. 

Response: The draft EIS statement referring to 
the fact that riparian areas make up only one 
percent of federal lands is applicable to public 
lands as a whole. Specific watersheds or allot- 
ments can always be found where riparian areas 
make up a larger percentage of the total area or 
visa versa. In a typical allotment without proper 



livestock management, livestock typically use 
upland forage significantly less than adjacent 
riparian areas. Again, this is a general statement 
based on the tendency of unmanaged livestock to 
congregate in and heavily use riparian areas. In 
areas where forage allocations have been made 
based on a large percentage of riparian areas, re- 
allocation of forage would be necessary to meet 
riparian management and other Rangeland Re- 
form '94 objectives. However, the need for this 
type of specific adjustment should be evaluated 
on a watershed or allotment by allotment basis 
and designed to meet the management goals of 
that immediate watershed area. In addition, the 
current condition of many riparian areas restricts 
their ability to produce the amount of forage 
they could potentially produce if they were in 
proper functioning condition. Over time, Range- 
land Reform '94 would allow deteriorated ripar- 
ian communities to be rehabilitated; and once 
rehabilitated, they could be available for grazing 
by closely managed livestock. The long term 
outcome would most likely result in more ripar- 
ian forage utilized by livestock in proper func- 
tioning riparian communities than is now re- 
moved from riparian areas that are in less than 
proper functioning condition even though time of 
use would likely be reduced. Upland utilization 
of higher quality forage would probably also be 
improved as overall grazing management im- 
proves. 

22. Comment: The "pie" charts representing the 
present conditions of upland and riparian habitat 
for both agencies use different units of measure- 
ment. If you are going to manage ecosystems 
that cross agency boundaries, it would be helpful 
to use a common unit or standard of measure- 
ment for habitat condition. 

Response: Both agencies entered into the devel- 
opment of Rangeland Reform '94 analyzing a 
variety of inventory and monitoring information. 
BLM and the Forest Service are developing a 
common set of rangeland inventory and monitor- 
ing procedures and techniques that will facilitate 
a more consistent data set in the future. 

Fees 



101 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



1 . Comment: The proposed fee increase does not 
consider nonfee costs. 

Response: We disagree. The proposed fee of 
$3.96 per AUM recognizes the nonfee costs of 
leasing federal lands as compared to leasing 
private grazing lands. The $3.96/AUM was 
developed, in part, by using an updated value 
($3.25 per AUM) of the $1.23 per AUM base 
value established in the 1966 Western Livestock 
Grazing Survey (WLGS). The $1.23 per AUM 
base value was established by accounting for the 
higher nonfee costs of leasing federal as com- 
pared to private grazing lands. This nonfee cost 
difference was carried forward when the $1.23 
per AUM was updated. 

The other value ($4.68 per AUM) used in 
establishing the $3.96 per AUM base value was 
from the update of the 1993 appraisal. The 
appraisal accounted for differences in private 
grazing land leases as opposed to federal leases 
by making a 15 percent adjustment for "terms 
and conditions" and advance payment. 

2. Comment: The proposed formula has no eco- 
nomic or scientific justification whatsoever. First, 
the mass appraisal results used to develop the 
proposed fee are unscientific and undefensible. 
Second, indexing the 1966 base value of $1.23 
per AUM to 1991 using the forage value index 
fails to account for changes in costs for grazing 
on public lands over this period. Finally, there is 
no basis for averaging these two numbers to 
determine a new base value. 

Response: We disagree. According to the stan- 
dards of the American Institute of Real Estate 
Appraisers (AIREA) it is uniform professional 
practice to use three approaches to valuation. In 
fact, the following three approaches may be 
required in some instances: the sales comparison 
approach, the replacement cost approach; and 
the income approach. The results of these three 
approaches are to be reconciled. Reconciliation 
as defined by the AIREA is "the analysis of 
alternative conclusions to arrive at a final value 
estimate." 

Updating the $1.23 per AUM base value (to 
$3.25) is a modified income approach. The 



appraised value of $4.68 is based on the sales 
comparison approach using grazing lease data 
rather than land sales data. The replacement cost 
approach did not apply. 

Arrived at via a thorough and professional 
process, the two values represent a reasonable 
estimate of public forage value. The two studies 
that established these values are the most com- 
prehensive and scientific studies available. Both 
studies cover the entire western United States, 
and there is no better set of data on which to 
estimate federal forage value. 

The 1993 appraisal was peer reviewed at that 
time by three independent appraisers, holding the 
designation of Master American Institute (MAI) 
from the American Institute of Real Estate 
Appraisers. They concluded that the appraisal 
met the standards of the American Institute of 
Real Estate Appraisers and approved the valua- 
tion conclusions. The 1992 update of the ap- 
praisal was prepared by the appraisal firms of 
two of the MAI appraisers that peer reviewed 
the 1993 appraisal and this update met profes- 
sional MAI appraisal standards. Moreover, 
since the lowest of the regional appraised values 
is used ($4.68), this public forage value repre- 
sents a conservative estimate. 

Differences in nonfee costs were accounted for 
in establishing the 1966 base value of $1.23 per 
AUM. Indexing the $1.23 per AUM by the 
forage value index does not adjust for any 
changes in the relative difference in nonfee costs 
that may have occurred since 1966. No adjust- 
ments were made for changes that may have 
occurred in the relative difference in nonfee 
costs because there is no conclusive basis for 
making a change. Some studies have attempted 
to reassess the nonfee cost differences of leasing 
federal as compared to private grazing but none 
has been comprehensive. Since these studies do 
not cover the entire western United States, we 
did not consider it appropriate to use these or 
any other studies to adjust the relative difference 
in the 1966 nonfee costs. 

The $3.96 per AUM base value was arrived at 
by averaging the two values because in our 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 102 



professional opinion it was appropriate to give 
equal weight to each value. 

The Grazing Fee Task Group, a sub-group of the 
1993 BLM/Forest Service Incentive Based 
Grazing Fee Task Force, reached a similar 
conclusion; that the fee should be between $3 
and $5 per AUM (USDA/USDI, 1993a). The 
group based its conclusion mainly on the results 
of a permit value approach, which applied an 
expected rate of return to the observed market 
value of federal grazing permits. 

3. Comment: Many recent studies conducted by 
western universities show that public land graz- 
ing costs are higher than private land grazing 
costs. The Grazing Fee Task Group found public 
land grazing costs to be 60 percent greater than 
private land grazing costs. The indexing (of the 
1966 base value of $1.23/AUM) used to deter- 
mine the $3 .96 per AUM base value recognizes 
only a 19 percent cost differential. 

Response: More recent studies of the nonfee 
cost differences of leasing federal as compared 
to private grazing lands have shown mixed 
results. 

The most comprehensive of these recent studies 
was the one by the Grazing Fee Task Group 
(GFTG) conducted as part of its incentive-based 
grazing fee system study (USDA/USDI, 1993a). 
The GFTG included four university economists, 
one each from New Mexico State University, 
University of Idaho, University of Wyoming, 
and Colorado State University. The results of 
these total cost studies of leasing private land as 
compared to public land were mixed and not 
consistent with observed permit values between 
$37/AUM in Wyoming to $89/AUM in New 
Mexico. 

These results led the GFTG to state, "Total cost 
valuations yield inconsistent results.... Conse- 
quently, this method has been discounted as a 
way to estimate the willingness of ranchers to 
pay for public land grazing." 

4. Comment: The forage value index (FV1) is in 
error because it weighs 1 7 western states, which 
are not representative of federal rangeland. 



Grazing fees in California, Kansas, Nebraska, 
North Dakota, Texas, and Washington cannot be 
used to value, say, Wyoming forage, or most 
federal land forage. 

Response: The FVI is not being used to value 
the federal forage. It is used only to adjust the 
federal forage value for year-to-year changes as 
reflected by the private land lease rate. The FVI 
would be determined by a weighted average of 
the private land lease rate in each of the 17 
western states. The rates would be weighted by 
the number of federal AUMs in each state and 
thus would represent changes that apply to the 
federal AUMs. For example, the private land 
lease rates changed from $12.60 in 1993 to 
$13.20 in 1994 in South Dakota and changed 
from $7.55 in 1993 to $8.08 in 1994 in New 
Mexico. The change in New Mexico would be 
given more weight than the change in South 
Dakota because New Mexico has more federal 
AUMs. 

5. Comment: The forage value index (FVI) cannot 
be used to set the federal grazing fee for sheep 
operations because it does not include data from 
sheep grazing leases on private lands. 

Response: The FVI is not used to value federal 
forage but to adjust the value of forage from 
year to year as reflected by the change in the 
private land lease rate. The private grazing land 
lease rate that the National Agricultural Statistics 
Service compiles does not necessarily exclude 
rates that apply to sheep grazing. Ranchers are 
asked to report the private land lease rate, which 
applies to sheep as well as cattle grazing. Al- 
though cattle grazing dominates the market, 
there is no reason to expect the sheep grazing 
rate to differ from the cattle grazing rate because 
sheep and cattle, as a general rule, are in the 
same competitive market. 

6. Comment: Page 2-37 of the draft EIS, bottom of 
the first column, states, "In subsequent years the 
calculated fee would depend on the changes in 
the market rate for private grazing land leases as 
reflected by the forage value index. " Please give 
examples of how the fee would vary after 1997 in 
response to some different scenarios of changes 
in the private land lease rates. 



103 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Response: Appendix L, A Comparison of Graz- 
ing Fee Formulas from 1983 to 2003, shows the 
indices used in the fee proposals, how they have 
performed in the past 10 years, and how they are 
projected to perform over the next 10 years 
(pages L-3 and L-4). The forage value index is 
projected to change by about two percent per 
year, on average, over the next 10 years; thus 
the fee level under the Preferred Alternative 
would on average change two percent annually. 

7. Comment: The forage value index (FVI) cannot 
be used to determine federal grazing fees be- 
cause it does not reflect the differences in value 
between private and public grazing lands. 

Response: The FVI does not need to reflect the 
difference in value between private grazing lands 
and public grazing lands because it is not used to 
determine the base value fee of $3.96/AUM. 



and demand of forage. Ranchers bid what they 
believe the private forage is worth, and the 
private grazing land owner, all other things 
being equal, leases to the highest bidder. Federal 
grazing is not part of this competitive market, so 
there is no reason to believe that increasing the 
price of federal forage would affect the price of 
private forage. If permittees seek more private 
pasture as a substitute for federal forage in 
response to implementation of the Preferred 
Alternative, there could be upward pressure on 
private land lease rates. However, this would 
likely be a short-term response and would stabi- 
lize over the long-term. 

10. Comment: The government has made a signifi- 
cant retreat from the original Rangeland Reform 
'94 proposal to raise the fee to $4.28 per AUM 
through a three-year phase-in period, and has 
reduced the fee to $3. 96/ AUM. The $4.28/ AUM 
was too low to begin with. 



8. Comment: The proposed fee increase does not 
even cover the cost of administration. Permittees 
contend that they must pay for fencing, water, 
and other improvements on public lands, but they 
are stretching the truth. Some BLM records show 
that BLMpays most, and sometimes all, of these 
costs on some allotments. 

Response: BLM and Forest Service records 
show that the contributions of BLM and Forest 
Service permittees to range improvements were 
highly variable by individual but averaged $0.17 
per AUM in 1990. Permittees in the Grazing 
Fee Task Group study estimated that their share 
of the investments, including paid and unpaid 
labor, in federal rangelands from 1971 to 1992 
averaged annually about $0.35 per AUM in 
Idaho and New Mexico and $0.09 per AUM in 
Wyoming. See Fees, Response 31. 

9. Comment: If fees are increased on public lands, 
private land lease rates would also increase. 
This would cause public land fees to increase 
even more, creating a never-ending spiral of 
increasing fees on public lands. 

Response: We disagree. The private grazing 
land lease rate is established through a competi- 
tive market. The price is based on the supply 



Response: The original Rangeland Reform '94 
grazing fee proposal used a base value of $3.96 
per AUM, so the base value has not changed. 
What has changed is the way the base fee would 
be indexed to reflect the change in the private 
land lease rate. The $4.28 per AUM was the 
base value of $3.96 per AUM indexed to 1993. 
The $3.96 per AUM indexed to 1994 would be 
a little less, $4.25 per AUM. Indexing the base 
value while it is being phased in creates uncer- 
tainty and is destabilizing. 

To minimize the uncertainty of the fee, it is 
appropriate that the base value not be indexed 
while it is being phased-in. The important factor 
is that the $3.96 per AUM base value would be 
used. The index can work both ways. It can pull 
the fee up, but it can also pull it down; depend- 
ing on the movement of the private grazing land 
lease rate. 

1 1 . Comment: The government justifies the increase 
in the grazing fee as necessary to erase permit 
value or reduce it to zero. Since the publicity 
and debate over the fee has already decreased 
permit value, this makes it unnecessary to in- 
crease the fee. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 104 



Response: The government is not justifying the 
increase in the grazing fee on the basis of reduc- 
ing or eliminating permit value. However, in 
theory, an economic consequence of raising the 
fee may be that any "permit value " resulting 
from the privilege to graze on federal lands may 
be reduced by the amount of the increased fee. 

12. Comment: The 1993 Grazing Fee Task Group 
(GFTG) study (USDA/USDI, 1993) does not 
support the $3.96 per AUM grazing fee and the 
study results support a lower grazing fee. Also, 
the permit value rationale in the 1993 GFTG 
study that was used to conclude that the fee 
should be between $3 and $5 is no longer valid. 

Response: This comment misinterprets the 
conclusions of the GFTG study. The GFTG 
applied three approaches to valuation of federal 
forage: the total cost comparison of the fee and 
nonfee costs of grazing public and private land, 
market value appraisal, and annualization of 
permit value. 

Using the total cost method, the study concluded 
that the forage value for grazing cattle on BLM 
land was in the range of $3 to $4 per AUM. 
However, the total cost approach estimated a 
minus $2.86 per AUM for cattle grazing on 
National Forests. Average forage values were 
also negative for sheep grazing on BLM and 
Forest Service land. 

The implication of the negative values is that the 
government should pay permittees to graze 
federal lands. These results conflicted with the 
GFTG's conclusions that ranchers are actually 
willing to pay between $3 and $5 per AUM for 
federal forage as reflected by the market price of 
federal grazing permits. This led the group to 
question the validity of low forage value derived 
using the total cost approach. Thus, the GFTG 
concluded just the opposite of the issue state- 
ment, that is, that the total cost approach does 
not support a lower grazing fee. 

In a follow-up discussion (E.T. Bartlett, et al., 
Rangelands 16[2] April 1994), the University 
authors of the task group made the point that 
they agreed with the BLM and Forest Service's 
interpretation of the study that the public forage 



value was in the range of $3 to $5 per AUM. 
However, they went on to point out that the 
government, in setting the base fee at $3.96 per 
AUM and using the $3 to $5 per AUM value to 
support this determination, must acknowledge 
that this would reallocate permit value from the 
rancher to the government. The government 
acknowledges this. However, the comment 
statement apparently interprets the university 
authors to mean that the estimate of $3 to $5 per 
AUM based on permit value is no longer valid. 
This interpretation is not correct. 

13. Comment: The 25 percent cap on annual in- 
creases in the fee would allow for increases 
without justification. This puts ranchers at the 
mercy of the government to just keep increasing 
government spending without end. 

Response: Annual changes in the grazing fee 
under the Preferred Alternative would be limited 
to the annual change in the forage value index 
(FVI). Over the past 10 years the FVI has 
changed, on average, about two percent annu- 
ally, and it is reasonable to assume that future 
changes would be similar. 

14. Comment: The proposed westwide fee is not 
reasonable or equitable and is arbitrary and 
capricious. With respect to the appraisal infor- 
mation used to establish the proposed fee, the 
BLM and Forest Service have never acknowl- 
edged or addressed the criticism by qualified 
academic economists of the 1983 Appraisal study 
and the 1992 Update. 

Response: The proposed fee is fair, reasonable, 
and equitable. It is comparable to fees paid for 
leasing private grazing land. It provides the 
public with a fair return for the use of its re- 
sources. It does not cause significant harm to the 
western livestock industry and to dependent rural 
communities. 

In the past, the government has addressed the 
criticism of the 1983 mass appraisal and the 
1992 appraisal update. The criticism has been 
addressed by pointing out that the 1983 appraisal 
was peer reviewed by three independent apprais- 
ers, holding the designation of MAI from the 
American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers. 



105 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



The MAI appraisers concluded that the appraisal 
met the standards of the American Institute of 
Real Estate Appraisers (AIREA) and approved 
the valuation conclusions. The 1992 Update of 
the 1983 appraisal was prepared by the appraisal 
firms of two of the MAI appraisers that con- 
ducted the peer review and this update meets 
professional AIREA standards. While the 
academic economists' criticism of the appraisal 
has been helpful and they have a contribution to 
make in the professional debate, it must be 
recognized that professionals can hold different 
opinions. Appraisers that hold the designation 
of MAI have proven through training, education, 
field experience and through actually preparing 
appraisals that they are qualified to estimate, in 
this case, the value of public forage. 

At the same time, much of the debate over the 
validity of the appraisal is misplaced because the 
agencies are not proposing to adopt the Regional 
Fee Alternative (Fee Alternative 4) which is 
based on the appraisal value conclusions. In 
developing the Proposed Action the agencies 
selected the lowest of the regional values in 
order to make the westwide base value more 
equitable. Had the Government used the 
westwide value from the appraisal of $6.84 per 
AUM, for example, and given it equal weight 
with the updated 1966 value, the proposed base 
fee would have been $5.04 per AUM. 

15. Comment: We suggest the fee be phased-in over 
a longer period of time, such as five years to 
mitigate the economic impacts of the fee in- 
crease. 

Response: During the alternative formulation 
phase of preparing the draft EIS, the agencies 
considered a variety of phase-in periods to help 
spread the increase in business costs over time, 
and determined that three years was a reasonable 
period of time for permittees to adjust to the 
increase. The phase-in of the proposed fee 
increase is incorporated into the Preferred Alter- 
native, rather than a separate mitigation mea- 
sure. 



The Grazing Fee Task Group (GFTG) used 
regression analysis with 28 years of data and 
concluded that the Beef Cattle Price Index 
(BCPI) and the Prices Paid Index (PPI) are 
insignificant variables in predicting annual 
variation in the private lease market and if used 
in a "PRIA-like" formula, the coefficients should 
not be I and -I. 

Response: The work of the GFTG was reviewed 
during development of the proposed grazing fee 
formula. The results of this analysis were one of 
the reasons for dropping the BCPI and PPI from 
the grazing fee formula. 

17. Comment: Permittees are already paying full 
market value through the current fee, nonfee 
costs, and investments in grazing permits. There- 
fore, any fee other than that produced by PRIA 
is economically invalid. Increasing the fee would 
eliminate the value of our existing permits. These 
impacts are not addressed in the draft EIS. 

Response: Pages 4-11 and 4-12 of the draft EIS 
include a discussion of the relationship between 
permit value and the Proposed Action. Accord- 
ing to economic theory (see for example 
USDA/USDI, 1993a), permit value should be 
the capitalized difference in the current federal 
grazing fee and the private land lease rate after 
the nonfee costs differences such as maintenance 
and herding are accounted for. Therefore, adding 
the investment in permit value to the grazing fee 
and the nonfee cost differences makes the total 
cost equal to market value. It is important to 
understand why the government has never recog- 
nized permit value in the setting of grazing fees 
on public lands. 

First, the issue of whether permit value should 
be included as a cost in calculating the fee was 
litigated after the 1966 grazing fee study that set 
the base fee at $1.23 per AUM. The ruling was 
that the Secretaries of the Interior and Agricul- 
ture did not act improperly in not including 
permit value as a cost (Pankey Land and Cattle 
Co. v. Hardin and Hickel, 427 F.2d 43, 1970). 



16. Comment: The use of only the Forage Value 
Index (FVI) to update fees yearly is one of the 
few positive proposals in Rangeland Reform '94. 



Second, the Supreme Court ruled that permits to 
use the public domain for grazing are revocable 
and create no property rights to the holder 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 106 



(United States v. Fuller, 409 U.S. 488 1973). 
Clearly the federal government does not recog- 
nize and has no legal authority to compensate 
permittees for their investments in grazing 
permits. To do so would, in effect, grant to 
permittees the capitalized value of a public 
resource which the United States has not con- 
veyed to the permittee , and the permittee has 
not purchased from the United States. The 
Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed this 
policy. Increasing the grazing fee, which may 
result in reducing the value of the permit, is not 
a taking. 

Third, the reason that the private real estate 
market gives permits "value" is because the 
federal government charges less than the full 
market value for the livestock grazing. The 
federal grazing permits are usually transferred as 
part of the base property real estate transaction, 
but the government is not a financial party in the 
transaction. Permits are transferred to the new 
permittees if they are qualified and accept all the 
terms and conditions, but the public does not 
share in the revenue from the sale of the permit. 
Therefore, the government sees no reason to 
give ranchers that acquire federal grazing per- 
mits, credit for the money that is paid to the 
original permit holders. 

Increasing the fee would reduce the value of 
permits to ranchers, but whether permit value is 
eliminated entirely would depend upon whether 
$3.96/AUM is market value for the forage 
provided by the permit. In any event, any loss in 
permit value to the ranchers would result in a 
gain in asset value to the owners of the public 
lands. 



study are difficult to assess because it does not 
describe in any detail the methodology that was 
used or how and which costs were included in 
the calculations of net ranch income. Moreover, 
the results are summarized in bar charts. It is not 
clear, for example, whether the costs of purchas- 
ing or holding (opportunity costs) federal grazing 
permits are included in the calculation of net 
ranch returns. Also, the results of such studies 
that apply to only one state may not apply 
westwide, and therefore their usefulness is 
limited. (See Appendix M of the draft EIS for a 
description of these studies.) 

19. Comment: The Federal Forage Fee Formula is 
more fair than the Secretaries' proposal because 
it accounts for nonfee costs of grazing on public 
lands and more accurately describes differences 
in forage value between public and private lands 
and the reduced productive capacity inherent on 
public lands. 

Response: The proposed grazing fee accounts 
for nonfee costs differences as well as the differ- 
ences in "terms and conditions" of private graz- 
ing land leases as opposed to public grazing land 
leases. The Federal Forage Fee Formula (FFF 
Formula) is far too complex to be practical and 
is technically invalid because it triple counts the 
difference between federal and private land 
leases. Furthermore, adjusting for the "net 
production differential" as provided for in the 
FFF Formula results in an increase rather than a 
decrease in the base fee because the Economic 
Research Service study shows that permittees 
have significantly higher net returns above cash 
costs than do nonpermittees (see Appendix G of 
the draft EIS). 



18. Comment: BLM has not considered studies that 
support the current grazing fee as fair and 
equitable. 

Response: In developing the grazing fee, the 
government considered all the studies related to 
the fee, including those that supported the cur- 
rent grazing fee formula as fair and equitable. 
For example, we reviewed the Pepperdine 
University study (Rostvold and Dudley, 1992) 
that compared ranch income of Montana 
permittees and nonpermittees. The results of this 



20. Comment: Competitive bidding should be imple- 
mented on public rangelands. Let the demand 
determine the value of the forage. It works on 
federal lands in the eastern United States and we 
see no valid rationale for a different approach in 
the West. Possible conditions to be set under 
competitive bid could be five-year and/ or 10-year 
permits; perhaps a minimum bid set at the lowest 
private land lease rate on comparable lands 
within the area of the allotment; penalties for 
collusion; and specification of a maximum num- 
ber of AUMs. If there is a reluctance to adopt 



107 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



competitive bidding everywhere, we urge its 
adoption at least for allotments that have no 
preference, e.g. allotments newly acquired 
through purchase or exchange. 

Response: Competitive bidding would give the 
best indication of the market value of federal 
forage as long as there is a competitive market. 
But even this approach has limitations, such as 
in cases where public land tracts are landlocked 
by private lands. 

Competitive bidding is probably feasible without 
legislation for tracts acquired by the BLM either 
through purchase or exchange because no graz- 
ing preference has been established. But regula- 
tions would be required to provide for leasing 
these tracts. 

21 . Comment: The Grazing Market Rental Appraisal 
completed in the 1980s for public rangelands is 
the most comprehensive and reliable evaluation 
of grazing fees in relation to the market value. 
This study accounts for nonfee costs of grazing 
on public lands and provides justification for 
regional grazing fees. The regional-fee alterna- 
tive (Alternative 4) takes into account difference 
in growing areas (ecoregions) as influenced by 
climate, soil types, etc., and the reasonable 
production of forage relative to adjacent regions. 
It appears that this alternative is fair as it 'levels 
to playing field' somewhat between all federal 
land livestock operators. 

Response: We agree with this and we considered 
it in our analysis. 

22. Comment: The input cost index (I CI) used in the 
Modified PRIA fee alternative (Alternative 2) is 
a more comprehensive, but just as subjective, 
version of the prices paid index (PPI) used in the 
current formula. Further, the beef cattle price 
index (BCPI) and the ICI are presented as a 
ratio, instead of as a sum as in the current 
formula. This has the effect of nearly doubling 
the fee that would be produced under the current 
formula. While it is a step in the right direction, 
this formula has all the same faults as the cur- 
rent formula. 



Response: The ICI is a composite index and is 
more reflective than the PPI of all of the costs 
(farm and nonfarm) of beef production. Chang- 
ing the PPI to the ICI and dividing the beef 
cattle price index by the ICI does not have the 
effect of nearly doubling the fee. What causes 
the fee to nearly double is a change in the base 
value. In the first few years there would be little 
difference in the fee using this modified fee 
formula rather than the current formula if the 
base values were the same. But, as is stated the 
modified fee formula has many of the same 
limitations as the current PRIA formula. 

23 . Comment: Implementation of competitive bidding 
would be detrimental to public lands because 
there would be a high potential for frequent 
changes in permit holders. This would create 
instability for livestock operators and for the 
resource. Competitive bidding would be detri- 
mental to my livestock operation as well, since I 
may not be the successful bidder. Without assur- 
ance that I would be able to run my cattle on 
public lands, investments in improvements, 
purchase and sale of livestock, and a variety of 
related business activity would become less 
attractive. If I were the unsuccessful bidder, I 
would probably go out of business, resulting in 
a loss of local payroll and taxes. This sort of 
uncertainty and instability would not promote a 
long-term interest in the health of rangeland 
ecosystems or the local livestock industry. 

Response: Competitive bidding would reveal the 
actual market value for forage given the specific 
terms and conditions of each permit or lease. It 
would allow for long-term leasing, and would 
allow the existing permittees and lessees the 
opportunity to match the highest bid. Competi- 
tive bidding is established and works success- 
fully in other areas, for example on Forest 
Service lands in the eastern United States and on 
state lands in Montana. Competitive bidding 
may also be successful on a limited basis for 
those tracts that are acquired through' purchase 
or exchange and do not have grazing preferences 
as provided for by the Taylor Grazing Act. 
Competitive bidding of all federal lands may 
cause instability, but this is not known because 
it has never been tried. Competitive bidding of 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 108 



all federal lands may not meet other criteria, 
such as equity. 

24. Comment: Separate fee levels should be set in 
consideration of the different productive capaci- 
ties on rangelands in the West, not one westwide 
fee. Thus, fees would be lower in less-productive 
areas such as Nevada and Arizona. The fee 
formula should be based on local market criteria 
and prepared by agricultural economists from 
land grant universities. Also, fee structure should 
be related to such geographical conditions as 
distance to water, slope and roughness of ter- 
rain, and other physical characteristics of the 
local environment. 

Response: This alternative was considered under 
Fee Alternative 4: Regional Fees. All of the 
physical factors that are mentioned in this com- 
ment can affect the value of forage. Other 
physical factors such as quality of the forage and 
presence of poisonous plants also can affect 
forage value. To consider all site-specific factors 
would require an allotment-by-allotment ap- 
praisal, which would be impractical and prohibi- 
tively costly. In fact, in some instances the cost 
of the appraisal would exceed the revenue re- 
ceived from the allotment. 

25 . Comment: Any fee structure should cover the 
typical costs of maintaining prime pasturage on 
private lands. 

Response: One basis for establishing the Pro- 
posed Action was the update of the 1966 West- 
ern Livestock Grazing Survey base value of 
$1.23 per AUM. The original base value of 
$1.23 per AUM was established by accounting 
for the nonfee costs differences of using federal 
as opposed to private lands. Therefore, these 
costs differences have been considered in the 
Preferred Alternative. 

26. Comment: The fee structure should be brought 
up to fair market value, and the government 
subsidy to livestock producers should be stopped. 
The public lands livestock industry is heavily 
subsidized through low grazing fees. The federal 
government loses about $50 million a year 
subsidizing two percent of the cattle producers. 



Response: These concerns were addressed in 
Fee Alternative 7: Competitive Bidding. The 
Proposed Action would raise the grazing fee to 
a base amount of $3.96 per AUM by 1997. 
Thereafter the fee would be kept current by 
being indexed by the annual change in the pri- 
vate grazing land lease rate. The proposed fee 
would approximate fair market value on a 
westwide basis because of its adjustments for 
differences in public land as opposed to private 
land grazing. The fee would generate levels of 
funding that approximates the direct cost of the 
government's livestock grazing program. 

27. Comment: The fee structure should be stable 
from year to year and should be reduced to a 
maximum change of 10 percent per year. 

Response: After 1997 the grazing fee would be 
adjusted annually by the change in the private 
grazing land lease rate. The forage value index 
was established 26 years ago, and since that time 
the private land lease rate has changed more than 
10 percent per year only four times. In three of 
those years the change was less than 15 percent. 
It is reasonable to assume that future changes 
would be similar to past changes. 

28. Comment: Federal grazing fee rates should be 
compared with similar conditions such as leases 
for grazing on state-held lands. 

Response: Most state land in the West is leased 
under the legislative mandate to maximize reve- 
nue for the school system. This mandate is not 
consistent with the grazing fee objectives of the 
federal government. 

29. Comment: Fees should be structured to consider 
livestock prices and weather conditions. The 
Government should not set arbitrary prices but 
should participate in the risk and rewards associ- 
ated with livestock-producing conditions. 

Response: Livestock prices and weather condi- 
tions were considered in the development of the 
Proposed Action and several of the alternatives 
(see Chapter 2 of the draft EIS for details). The 
Proposed Action, for example, uses the private 
grazing land lease rate to adjust the fee annually. 



109 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



The private rate reflects livestock prices and 
weather conditions indirectly through forage 
supply. The private land lease rate tends to 
increase with increased livestock prices, although 
there is a lag effect. Also, when there is good 
moisture and a good forage supply, the price of 
private grazing decreases. 

30. Comment: We propose a graduated fee based on 
herd size. Use the present fee for ranchers with 
fewer than 100 head. Progressively increase the 
fee for each additional 100 head authorization. 
The full fee of $3.96 per AUM should apply only 
where authorized use exceeds the average size 
operation of 221 head. 

Response: This proposal was considered during 
alternative formulation but it is not part of the 
Preferred Alternative. However, it would be 
costly and impractical to administer. And though 
there is generally a correlation between ranch 
size and income, in many instances there is no 
relationship. For example, some small ranches in 
the West, particularly in scenic areas, are owned 
by wealthy absentee owners. In addition, some 
large corporate farming operations graze small 
herds of livestock on federal land. Other prob- 
lems include when and how herd size is estab- 
lished. The size of a herd can vary by as much 
as 20 to 50 percent during the year. Also, if a 
permittee has 101 cows, it is not clear whether 
the higher rate would be charged for the entire 
herd or for just one cow. Or, whether the herd 
size would be based on the number of livestock 
that graze federal lands or on the entire ranch 
operation. Nonetheless, as stated on page 2-34 of 
the draft EIS, "Under all of the grazing fee 
alternatives, except Competitive Bidding, a 
tiered-fee arrangement could be implemented to 
provide financial relief to small operators." 

3 1 . Comment: Grazing fees should cover all the 
costs of administration of a grazing program that 
incorporates sound ecological practices; research 
to determine functioning of disturbed and natural 
ecosystems; managers and public affairs special- 
ists to hold the myriad of meetings in the pro- 
posed rules; resource staff to monitor range 
conditions and sensitive species and to produce 
quantitative data that is publishable in peer 
reviewed journals; the law enforcement staff to 
monitor boundary compliance and range conser- 



vationists to do the same; wildfire prevention and 
suppression programs in areas currently and 
formerly grazed by livestock; mitigation and 
compensation for damage to public land such as 
the cost to convert a nonnative plant community 
prone to fire to a biologically diverse native 
plant community; and the full costs to the public 
of livestock grazing on public lands covering all 
costs for all categories of livestock. 

Response: Fee Alternative 6: PRIA with Sur- 
charges, could use the fee produced by the 
Public Rangelands Improvement Act (PRIA) 
formula as a base value and add a surcharge to 
cover the cost of administering the grazing 
program at the local Forest Service and BLM 
administrative level. A number of the activities 
listed above in the comment do not relate di- 
rectly to livestock grazing and, therefore, would 
not be appropriate to include as costs to be 
covered by revenue from the grazing fee. For 
example, the cost of prevention and suppression 
of wildfire should not be covered by the revenue 
from grazing fees because this is a public-service 
responsibility. Also, there are instances where 
proper livestock grazing can reduce the fuel 
source, and thus potentially reduce the cost of 
fire suppression. Nevertheless, it is not the 
intent of the Preferred Alternative to recover all 
costs of grazing management. Rather, the intent 
is to receive a fair fee for livestock grazing on 
federal lands. 

Expenses related directly to livestock grazing 
management include administration of permits, 
designing grazing systems, complying with 
NEPA, preparing and implementing plans, 
making improvements on grazed rangelands, and 
working with permittees. In FY93, BLM and 
Forest Service expenditures for these activities 
totaled $65.1 million, or $3.99 per AUM (see 
draft EIS, page 3-10). Raising the grazing fee to 
$3.96 per AUM would generate about $64.7 
million (assuming current authorized-use levels), 
roughly equivalent to current total expenditures 
for livestock grazing management. 

32. Comment: The equity allocation fee formula 
developed by Owyhee County was dismissed by 
the agencies despite the fact that this is the only 
proposal that does meet the statutory mandates 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 110 



and the agencies' criteria, is based on sound 
science and economic logic, does not disrupt the 
balance of relative values the free market has 
established between private land and federal 
leases, and enhances the stewardship incentive 
for ranchers. We urge that the Owyhee County 
proposal be examined in detail and offer our 
assistance. 

Response: This alternative was not dismissed, it 
was considered in the draft EIS. Under this 
alternative, the federal grazing fee would be set 
at 19.1 percent of the annual 11 -state average 
private grazing land lease rate (PGLLR). The 
19.1 percent is determined by dividing the 
federal grazing fee (set by PRIA) by the PGLLR 
over the past 15 years. Elements of this 
alternative-the current PRIA grazing fee formula 
and tying the grazing fee to the rate of change in 
the private grazing land lease rate-appear in 
some of the other alternatives. Therefore, the 
effects of this alternative were addressed within 
other alternatives analyzed in detail in the draft 
EIS. 

Employment and income 
impacts 

1 . Comment: The model used to estimate income 
and employment impacts (MicroIMPLAN) in the 
West does not include family labor employed by 
ranch operations. Therefore, the model under- 
states the number of employees and level of 
income in the agriculture sector. For this reason, 
it does not accurately assess the economic im- 
pacts of Rangeland Reform '94. 

Response: The MicroIMPLAN model, used to 
depict baseline economic conditions and impacts, 
incorporated data collected and reported by the 
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Economic 
Analysis (BEA). This data includes employment 
and income for workers employed in the agricul- 
ture sector, including persons identified as self- 
employed. To the extent livestock operators are 
considered self-employed, they would be in- 
cluded in the estimates. Unpaid family labor, 
however, would not appear in the statistics. 
Including an estimate of the number of workers 
considered to be unpaid family labor would 
increase the baseline estimate of agricultural 



employment (and thus total employment) but 
would not significantly change the relative 
contribution of the agriculture sector to the 
western economy. (See also Appendix N of the 
draft EIS for an explanation of how impacts 
were estimated in response to initial changes in 
spending due to increased fees and reduced 
AUMs.) 

MicroIMPLAN is widely used to assess eco- 
nomic impacts of changes in spending of the 
type expected under the Proposed Action and in 
fact was used in a study submitted for review 
during the draft EIS public comment period on 
impacts to the Nevada economy of a reduction in 
AUMs in three BLM districts. See Employment 
and Income Impacts, Response 4. 

2. Comment: A careful look at the sheep industry 
suggests that the EIS's estimates of employment 
and income effects are not correct. If federal 
grazing lands were unavailable, 25 percent of 
the sheep industry would be lost. This lost output 
represents $1,686 billion in revenues for the 
United States economy and $523 million in 
contributions to the federal treasury. Without 
public-lands grazing, the U.S. economy would 
suffer $869 million in annual losses due to 
reductions in domestic wool sales. Approximately 
40 percent of the fine wool production and 45 
percent of the medium grade wool production in 
the U.S. is based on public lands. Losses in 
output would include reduced sales of lambs and 
wool at the producer level, reduced revenues to 
restaurants and meat packers from decreased 
supply of lamb and mutton, lost receipts at 
tanneries and exporters (decreased pelt ship- 
ments), loss of retail clothing and apparel export 
earnings, and lost value of lanolin production. 

Response: The No Grazing Alternative is the 
only alternative in which federal lands would be 
unavailable for grazing. Under the No Grazing 
Alternative, the worst-case scenario estimated 
about 817,000 sheep would be lost, representing 
about 8 percent of the sheep inventory in the 
lower 48 states, not 25 percent (see draft EIS, 
pages 4-117 through 4-121). Under the Proposed 
Action, most public land would still be available 
for livestock grazing. In the long term forage 
availability under the Proposed Action would be 



111 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



three percent less than under continuation of 
Current Management. The analysis of impacts on 
employment and income was based on these 
estimates of forage availability. Further, if sheep 
operators converted to cattle as has occurred in 
the past, the level of impact estimated in this 
comment would be less since cattle production 
would offset the loss in economic activity from 
sheep production. This would also be the case if 
sheep operators relinquished their permits and 
the permits were subsequently obtained by cattle 
operators. 

3. Comment: The draft EIS erroneously assumes 
that the demand for federal forage would remain 
constant regardless of the fee charged or regula- 
tory conditions imposed. 

Response: The analysis in the draft EIS assumes 
that as long as the fee is equal to or less than the 
value for federal forage determined by forage 
value appraisals conducted in the mid-1980s, 
public-land forage would continue to be in 
demand in the long run. It is recognized that at 
the higher fee level some operators would not 
continue to purchase federal forage but that other 
livestock operators would acquire this forage. As 
discussed in Appendix G of the draft EIS, supply 
and demand analysis that reveals the amount 
demanded of a particular good at different price 
levels is technically valid only under competitive 
markets for identical or similar goods. The 
diversity of federal AUMs and the nonmarket 
supply side render traditional supply and demand 
analysis speculative in finding the value of 
federal AUMs. Also, the institutional features of 
the federal grazing market make the market 
value of federal forage unobserved. The market 
value has to be imputed. All methods of imput- 
ing market value have faults and are subject to 
inaccuracies and criticism. Further, no empirical 
data exists on which to base estimates of Forest 
Service/BLM forage demand and supply elastici- 
ties. Even for indirect measures, such as permit 
value or subleases, there are no regular, consis- 
tent, or comparable data gathered from which 
responses or elasticities can be reliably esti- 
mated. 

4. Comment: The draft EIS assumptions regarding 
income impacts are incorrect. For example, a 



study of impacts from grazing fee increases on 
the Wyoming economy shows the reduction of 
income to the Wyoming economy alone to be 
$5.6 million. An analysis of grazing in Nevada 
shows that reductions in active-preference AUMs 
(totalling 484,000 AUMs) on allotments in three 
BLM districts alone over the past 30 years have 
caused a reduction of $19.9 million in capital 
investment (permit value). This study also shows 
that a reduction of 195,000 active-preference 
AUMs since 1986 has caused a decrease of 
$15.6 million in total economic activity (as 
measured by the MicroIMPLAN input-output 
model). These studies are evidence that the 
income impacts are much more extensive than 
reported, especially when one considers the 
reasonable assumption that BLM would reduce 
grazing levels by at least 25 percent in the next 
few years. 

Response: The Wyoming analysis began with 
the assumption that AUM use would be un- 
changed at the higher fee level (as did the analy- 
sis in the draft EIS). It further estimated loss of 
income if production decreased due to the higher 
grazing fee, although it did not forecast loss of 
production due to higher fees. The analysis also 
assumed that the entire difference between the 
current fee and the higher fee would be a leak- 
age from the economy. It did not account for the 
fact that about 70 percent of all grazing fee 
receipts are returned to either the state or county 
where the AUMs are located. These dollars 
should be considered as an injection into the 
economy when estimates of impacts are made. 

The Nevada study used the decline in active- 
preference AUMs from 1986 to the present as 
the basis for estimating impacts to economic 
activity. But the number of AUMs authorized, 
the number actually paid for from year to year, 
is the more suitable category of AUMs to use 
for estimating economic impacts. Although 
active preference and actual use may have 
declined on the allotments examined for the 
Nevada study, it is difficult to ascertain whether 
the $15.6 million impact occurred. BLM Graz- 
ing Administration Billing System (GABS) 
records show that actual-use AUMs in fiscal 
year 1993 were in fact lower than in fiscal year 
1986 in Nevada. But actual use fluctuates from 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 112 



year to year in response to a variety of factors 
such as drought and market conditions. Further, 
the number of actual-use AUMs in fiscal year 
1993 was higher than in fiscal year 1983 in 
Nevada, indicating that at least for these two 
points in time livestock production from BLM- 
administered lands increased. 

The conclusion that $19.9 million in capital 
investment was lost due to the loss of 484,000 
AUMs over the past 30 years is also question- 
able. The method used to produce this result 
applied a current capitalized value 
($41.17/AUM), but these active-preference 
AUMs were eliminated as far back as 30 years 
ago when values were much lower. In addition, 
the loss of some of these preference AUMs 
during the evaluation procedures of the past 30 
years may have been "paper losses" in the sense 
that the AUMs may not have actually existed 
(which is why they were eliminated from the 
permit). In other words, the active preference 
may not have represented the actual forage 
capacity at that time. Under the Proposed Ac- 
tion, AUMs are expected to decline by only 
three percent more over 20 years than under 
continuation of Current Management. Thus, we 
disagree with the conclusion that this impact 
($19.9 million) can be expected in the "next few 
years" from a 25 percent reduction in AUMs. 

5. Comment: The amount of income lost westwide 
under the Proposed Action would be only 0.2 
percent more than under Alternative 4, the 
Environmental Enhancement alternative. Thus 
the cattle industry in the West would not experi- 
ence substantially greater losses under Alterna- 
tive 4 and would continue to be viable. The 
additional loss of 0.2 percent in westwide income 
from selecting Alternative 4 would be minimal 
and wholly offset by the economic benefits of this 
option. 

Response: Alternative 4, the Environmental 
Enhancement alternative, which includes among 
other provisions the suitability test, would de- 
crease livestock industry income and employ- 
ment by more than the Proposed Action. It 
would also restore fragile or nonfunctioning 
lands to improved conditions at a faster rate than 
the Proposed Action. These factors will be 



considered and balanced in preparing the records 
of decision. 

6. Comment: The negative economic impacts of the 
Environmental Enhancement Alternative and the 
No Grazing Alternative are greatly exaggerated 
Many of the grazing leases are held by large 
corporations or absentee ranching companies 
with no economic ties to local communities, and 
a majority of the cattle on public lands are 
owned by such large corporations and compa- 
nies. 

Response: We disagree that the economic im- 
pacts have been exaggerated. The agencies 
recognize that many livestock operations with 
federal permits are large corporate operations 
and absentee ranching companies. However, to 
the extent that they hire local labor and buy or 
sell products and services locally, they do con- 
tribute to local economies. In addition, the 
economic impacts were not estimated to be 
significant under these two alternatives. It should 
be recognized however that impacts would vary 
depending upon each operation's particular 
circumstances; and for some operators, both 
large and small, the impacts could be significant. 

Local Communities 

1 . Comment: Most ranchers in our area would go 
out of business due to Rangeland Reform '94. 
Small businesses who sell to ranchers would also 
close. Counties would have reduced tax revenues 
when businesses close and land is used less 
productively. Schools, hospitals, and other 
community services and professionals that de- 
pend on a given population level to be present in 
rural areas would be negatively affected. Truly 
rural counties, those that have not experienced 
economic diversification, would not be able to 
make up for the loss of ranching associated 
economic activity and employment through 
increased recreation and other industries. Espe- 
cially in counties where public lands are 50 
percent, 75 percent, or more of the total area, a 
substantial share of jobs-related income is tied to 
ranching on public lands. 

Response: The draft EIS discussed economic 
impacts of each alternative at both the macro and 



113 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



micro level. Potential impacts of the Proposed 
Action on income and employment were ana- 
lyzed for the 17-state region where most of the 
effects of the program would occur. The draft 
EIS found that impacts at both the micro and 
macro level would not be significant. Impacts on 
ranch income and operations were also discussed 
for operations at three differing herd sizes and 
two levels of dependency. The results of this 
analysis showed that marginal ranching opera- 
tions with high dependency levels could be 
adversely affected and that the level of impact 
would also depend on the ranch's financial 
condition and ability to adjust to new circum- 
stances. The analysis also recognized that coun- 
ties and municipalities with large numbers of 
marginal, highly dependent livestock operations 
could also experience adverse impacts. Thus, 
impacts were described for all parts of the 
economy, not only for livestock producers but 
also for sectors that are directly and indirectly 
related to ranching. (See especially pages 4-31 
through 4-38, 4-55 through 4-62, 4-77 through 
4-82, 4-99 through 4-107, and 4-118 through 4- 
123 of the draft EIS.). It should be noted that 
proportionately few operations fall into the high 
dependency group and most public land ranchers 
would continue to operate. So businesses who 
sell to western ranchers would still have a sub- 
stantial market. Similarly, data on local govern- 
ment general revenues provided by the U.S. 
Bureau of the Census (U.S. Department of 
Commerce, 1993) show that a substantial part of 
local governmental budgets in counties in the 
West now originate as intergovernmental trans- 
fers (grants, revenue sharing, appropriations, 
etc. from the federal or state governments). Thus 
the size of local government budgets and their 
ability to fund needed services would be little 
affected by the Preferred Alternative. 



to the local economy (ies) of the West. The EIS 
should have disclosed this. 

Response: The draft EIS discusses the contribu- 
tion of the agriculture industry in the West and 
recognizes that livestock production is an impor- 
tant industry in many rural communities (see 
pages 3-56 through 3-81of the draft EIS). 

3. Comment: The analysis of the effects of the 
Rangeland Reform '94 proposal does not ade- 
quately address economic impacts on local 
economies as required by the National Environ- 
mental Policy Act (NEPA), the Public Range- 
lands Improvement Act (PRIA), and the Taylor 
Grazing Act. 

Response: The analysis of economic impacts is 
appropriate and meaningful for the programmatic 
nature of the Proposed Action. The draft EIS 
described impacts for all parts of the economy, 
not only for public-land ranchers but also for 
sectors directly and indirectly related to ranch- 
ing. (See especially pages 4-31 through 4-38, 4- 
55 through 4-62, 4-77 through 4-82, 4-99 
through 4-107, and 4-118 through 4-123 of the 
draft EIS). In addition, it was recognized that 
public land ranchers contribute to the local 
economies of their communities and counties 
(see especially pages 3-75 through 3-77 of the 
draft EIS). 

4. Comment: Ranching families support the local 
school systems both through the property taxes 
they pay and by providing many of the children 
who are students. If Rangeland Reform '94 were 
implemented, the local schools would be devas- 
tated as the tax base would decline and people 
move away. The EIS must disclose impacts to 
local revenues. 



2. Comment: Studies by state universities have 
found that each AUM grazed adds a substantial 
amount of economic activity to rural counties, 
for example, more than $60 per AUM in direct 
activity and more than $125 in total output. For 
one permit of 170 A UMs that translates to more 
than $11,000 in direct economic activity and 
about $23,000 in total economic output. Studies 
have concluded that the livestock industry adds 
$437 million dollars in direct economic activity 



Response: The U.S. Bureau of the Census 
annually publishes data on local governmental 
revenues, by source. Its recent annual publica- 
tion Census of Governments (U.S. Department of 
Commerce, 1993), showed that the local govern- 
ments in the Mountain and Pacific West have 
general revenues in the aggregate of nearly $30 
billion (1991 dollars). Ranch budgets reviewed 
during preparation of the draft EIS suggest that 
property taxes paid by ranchers, including real 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 114 



and personal property, vary from $8 to $23 per 
mature breeding cow. On the basis of possible 
herd-size reductions discussed in the draft EIS 
(see especially Appendix 0), it is estimated that 
the Proposed Action could reduce revenues to 
local governments in the West by up to six- 
tenths of one percent. A change of this size 
would be within the limits of the normal range 
of variation in the budgets of the local govern- 
ments of the West. Although the draft EIS 
estimated that about 3,000 jobs would be lost in 
the long term under the Proposed Action, popu- 
lation would not necessarily decrease in rural 
western counties. Available data suggests that 
rural workers who lose their existing jobs are 
rehired on the average in less than one-half year. 
Stam and others (1991) found that many farm 
and ranch operators who cease operating during 
times of financial stress reenter as producers 
when conditions stabilize. Thus, population 
losses are not expected and school enrollment 
should not decline. 

5. Comment: Ranchers would be strapped to find 
alternative areas to graze their cattle if stocking 
rates were reduced on public lands. Private 
lands used for grazing are becoming scarce as 
the West is subdivided into urban and recre- 
ational developments. Increased costs of provid- 
ing services to newcomers is driving up property 
taxes in western rural counties to the point that 
even families who don 't want to sell or subdivide 
are doing so. Any increase in the grazing fees 
would interact cumulatively with the increased 
property taxes to squeeze out marginal ranching 
operations. 



conversions are already occurring or where 
permittees are currently facing the greatest 
financial stress. 

6. Comment: Operators in our county would have 
an increase in fees, based on the number of 
AUMs they have, averaging more than $3,500 
per year, well above the estimate included in the 
EIS. Also, the EIS ignores the issue of the value 
added to the ranch by the federal permit. Since 
the permit value is part of the assessed value of 
the ranch, for ad valorem taxes, a decrease in 
permit value may affect schools which depend 
heavily on the property tax. 

Response: In the analysis of impacts to livestock 
operators, three different herd sizes, each with 
two different levels of dependency, were used 
(see, for example, page 4-58 of the draft EIS). 
Three operations analyzed (herd size 210 at 60- 
percent dependency, and herd size 425 at 30- 
and 60-percent dependency) have between 1,500 
and 3,000 AUMs. At $3.96/AUM, the increase 
in fees for these operations is $3,000 to $6,000, 
a range which includes an average increase in 
fees of $3,500. The analysis recognized that 
some operators, especially those with larger 
herds and/or the highest federal-forage depen- 
dency, have more AUMs than do the majority of 
BLM /Forest Service permitees and lessees. 
Although income impacts might be significant 
for operations using a large amount of forage, it 
should be noted that only eight percent of BLM 
permits and four percent of Forest Service 
permits have 2,000 or more AUMs. (See also 
draft EIS Appendices K and O). 



Response: The draft EIS discusses the growing 
trend in the West of subdivision and develop- 
ment of open spaces previously used for farming 
and ranching (pages 3-64 through 3-81). Many 
communities in the West are experiencing an 
influx of new residents, placing strain on exist- 
ing services and local government revenues. In 
some areas of the West, marginal operators 
might likely go out of business in response to 
these pressures and sell their private lands, 
possibly for development. However, there is no 
evidence that the cumulative effect of these 
factors, coupled with the Preferred Alternative 
will accelerate the trend in areas where land-use 



The issue of permit value was discussed in 
Chapters 3 and 4 of the draft EIS. A decrease in 
permit value would not reduce property taxes in 
most states. Most states classify, appraise and 
assess private land apart from any leased land in 
the ranch. See Permit Value responses. 

7. Comment: Economic devastation in our state and 
its counties would not be restricted to just the 
loss of jobs and income. Each American 
farmer/rancher feeds 128 people, 94 in the U.S. 
and 34 abroad. America produces much of the 
world's beef, a large part of which comes from 
public lands in the West. The character and 



115 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



9. 



identity of people in the West has been shaped in 
part by the fact that they are producers whose 
efforts feed the world. 

Response: In the long term the Proposed Action 
is estimated to decrease the number of federal 
AUMs by three percent more than continuation 
of Current Management. The impact analysis in 
the draft EIS acknowledges that the most mar- 
ginal permittees would be the most adversely 
affected. However, it does not conclude, nor is 
there any evidence, that any adverse impacts to 
the world food supply would occur. 

Comment: What would be the impacts on rural 
communities and local tax revenues of issuing 
permits to environmental groups for conservation 
use? Would environmental groups be required to 
own base property? 

Response: The draft EIS concluded the impacts 
to rural communities and local tax revenues from 
issuing conservation use would not be significant 
(see draft EIS p. 4-62). Permitttees currently can 
take nonuse for a variety of reasons. Thus, a 
significant increase in demand for nonuse is not 
anticipated under the Preferred Alternative. 

All holders of grazing permits and leases, in- 
cluding conservation-use leases, would be re- 
quired to hold base property. Terms and condi- 
tions of the permit would still be required to 
conform with the existing land-use plan. In 
addition, BLM would retain the authority to 
approve or disapprove a request for conservation 
use. See Conservation Use responses. 

Comment: What would happen to rural commu- 
nities from the loss of grazing fee receipts re- 
turned to the communities under the Taylor 
Grazing Act (TGA)? 

Response: As described in Alternative 2 on 
pages 4-59 to 4-61 of the draft EIS, grazing fee 
receipts are not expected to decline. However, if 
receipts were to decline in any particular county, 
the net effect would depend on how Payments in 
Lieu of Taxes (PILT) are determined for that 
county. The change in revenues to counties from 
changes in grazing fee receipts and PILT pay- 
ments was discussed in Appendix H of the draft 



EIS. 

A county whose PILT payment is determined by 
"Formula A" would experience no change in 
total revenues received under the PILT Act and 
the TGA. This is because, when calculating a 
county's annual PILT payment, grazing fee 
receipts returned to the county from the prior 
year are deducted from the PILT payment. If 
grazing fee receipts are declining, the PILT 
payment increases by the same amount because 
a smaller amount is deducted. About 76 percent 
of all counties in the 17 western states fall into 
this category. 

A county whose PILT payment is determined by 
"Formula B" would experience a decline in total 
revenues of the same amount by which grazing 
fee receipts decline. This is because grazing fee 
receipts are not part of the formula for calculat- 
ing that county's PILT payment. Therefore, 
PILT payments would remain unchanged while 
grazing fee receipts decline; the net result is a 
decrease in revenue to that county. About 24 
percent of all counties in the 17 western states 
fall into this category. 

10. Comment: Property owners with isolated private 
or state lands that are next to federal lands 
would need to fence those areas if they are 
priced off using their permits. It isn 't economi- 
cally feasible to lease and develop a water 
source for these marginal lands. By not using 
these for grazing, the tax base is lowered even 
more. 

Response: The tax base may decline if livestock 
production declines . Where and to what degree 
this would occur, however, is unknown. In 
addition, if one property owner fails to renew his 
or her permit, another livestock operator may 
obtain the permit, and production might increase 
on other private or state lands, thus offsetting 
some of the loss. However, where and to what 
degree this offsetting production might occur is 
also unknown. 

Livestock 

Operations/Livestock 

industry 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 116 



1. Comment: The draft EIS must be amended to 
honestly acknowledge that as many as 50 percent 
of the livestock operators with federal permits 
would leave public land ranching voluntarily or 
involuntarily if the proposed regulations are 
implemented. 

Response: The analysis of impacts under the 
Proposed Action acknowledges that some opera- 
tors may not remain in business (see, for exam- 
ple, draft EIS, pages 4-57 to 4-59). 

The apparent source of the 50 percent estimate 
is a study of western livestock operators (Fowler 
and others, 1994) that reported the findings of a 
survey completed in 1992, one year before the 
Rangeland Reform '94 proposal was developed. 
In response to the survey question, "If ranching 
ceased on public lands what would you do?" the 
study reported that "[o]ver half (57%) of western 
ranchers with federal land indicated they would 
continue on a smaller scale if access to federal 
AUMs of grazing was lost" (page 17). This 
implies that 43 percent would leave ranching if 
access to graze public lands were restricted. 

Since the 50-percent figure was not established 
in response to the proposed increase in grazing 
fees and changes in regulations under the Pro- 
posed Action, it is inappropriate to use this 
figure as an estimate of the number of ranchers 
who would leave public land ranching if the 
proposed changes were implemented. Survey 
participants were not asked what they would do 
if the fee were increased to $3.96 per AUM or 
if regulations on livestock grazing were changed. 
Furthermore, the agencies are not proposing to 
take all public forage away from public land 
ranchers, so the response to the question is not 
relevant to the Preferred Alternative. 

2. Comment: The EIS deliberately ignores capital 
investments made by the permittees. 

Response: There are two separate and distinct 
components to the issue of capital investments. 
The first component concerns the issue of capital 
investment in the purchase of a ranch operation 
and the associated value attached to ranches with 
permits by the real estate market. The second 



component relates to capital investment in range 
improvements. 

The issue of impacts to permit values was con- 
sidered and discussed in the draft EIS on pages 
4-11 and 4-12. Furthermore, this issue is dis- 
cussed and explained in this chapter under the 
heading Permit Value. The issue of rangeland 
improvement ownership is discussed in the draft 
EIS on page 2-15. The Preferred Alternative 
would require that the United States hold title to 
all new grazing-related improvements built on 
public lands, except temporary or removable 
improvements. BLM would hold title to all 
permanent range improvements built in the 
future on public lands. The Forest Service policy 
on ownership of improvements would not 
change. The ownership of existing range im- 
provements would not be affected. 

3. Comment: The draft EIS erroneously concludes 
(page 1-9) that grazing fees for 73 percent of the 
operators would increase by only $1,000 under 
the Secretaries' fee proposal. 

Response: About 73 percent of BLM permits 
and leases currently have 500 or fewer AUMs of 
forage authorized. But some permittees and 
lessees have more than one permit, resulting in 
a total number of AUMs greater than 500 for 
these operators (although some permit such as 
those issued to grazing associations cover more 
than one livestock operator). The statement on 
page 1-9, referred to by the commenter "... 
more than 73 percent of BLM permittees and 
lessees would experience a fee increase of less 
than $1,000 per year..." has been revised to 
read, "... grazing bills on more than 73 percent 
of BLM permits and leases and about 50 percent 
of Forest Service permits would increase by less 
than $ 1 ,000 per year. . . " 

4. Comment: Livestock production would drop due 
to the fee increase. The short-run economic 
effects of the proposed fees would include a 
decrease in livestock production, an increase in 
livestock production costs, and a decrease in 
economic activity. By 1997, grazing on BLM 
land in Nevada would fall 18 percent (364,873 
AUMs), resulting in a decrease of $13 million in 
livestock production. This, in turn, would result 



117 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



in a decrease of $23.5 million in total economic 
activity and a decrease of 420 jobs statewide. 

Response: The draft EIS acknowledges that the 
amount of federal forage demanded would 
decrease at the higher fee levels for some opera- 
tions (see page 4-17). However, at the higher fee 
level, it is also likely that as these AUMs be- 
come available other livestock operators would 
acquire these AUMs. Since federal AUMs have 
not been subject to competitive market condi- 
tions, there is no empirical basis on which to 
judge elasticity. The updated appraisal indicates 
that the lowest regional value is higher than the 
proposed fee; so, it can reasonably be assumed 
that all forage would be demanded, if not by the 
current permittee, then by a future permittee. 
There is no data available that provides the basis 
for a better assumption. See Employment and 
Income Impacts, Response 3. 

5. Comment: The EIS presented a deliberately 
misleading analysis by including beef production 
in the entire lower 48 states. A high proportion 
of total federal land acreage is in the West, and 
the EIS misrepresents this by including midwest- 
em and eastern beef cattle numbers in determin- 
ing the percentage of U.S. cattle that depend on 
federal forage. 

Response: Chapter 3 of the draft EIS describes 
the general economic environment, and more 
specifically livestock operations and production, 
on federal lands in the West. Table 3-15 on page 
3-66 was presented to enable the public to view 
western livestock production from both regional 
and national perspectives. The table lists the 
number of beef cattle and beef cattle producers 
in the United States in 1993; shows the number 
of beef cattle, beef cattle producers, producers 
with federal permits and leases; and shows the 
portion of all producers with federal grazing 
permits for the following: 

1. 11 -state western region 

2. 5-state central west region 

3. Texas 

4. Total 17 western states (includes central 
west region and Texas) 

5. eastern region 

6. Total 48 contiguous states 



The draft EIS acknowledges that the western 
livestock industry and federal forage are eco- 
nomically important, both regionally and locally. 
Federal rangelands are essential to the economic 
vitality of many family farms and ranches, with 
some western communities relying heavily on 
ranching as the main economic activity. The 
importance of livestock production on federal 
rangelands is also described in Table 3-17 show- 
ing by state the estimated dependency of ranch- 
ing on federal forage. 

6. Comment: The economic baseline information in 
the EIS pertaining to the sheep industry is inac- 
curate, misleading, and often inconsistent with 
other studies and even government documents. It 
tends to underestimate the importance of federal 
grazing to western sheep operators. 

Response: The data on the role of federal lands 
in the sheep industry is not misleading or incor- 
rect; the data is just presented differently than in 
previous documents. For example, while it may 
be correct that one-third of the sheep and lamb 
inventory graze on BLM/Forest Service lands, it 
is also correct that BLM land provides five 
percent and Forest Service land provides six 
percent of the overall feed requirements to sheep 
in the 11 western states. Both statements are 
correct; they just present dependency in different 
ways. Additionally, economic baseline informa- 
tion pertaining to the sheep industry was taken 
from recent studies, including permittee data 
from both BLM and Forest Service data bases, 
and statistical reports of the National Agricul- 
tural Statistics Service. 

7. Comment: The draft EIS incorrectly concludes 
that livestock grazing is decreasing in the west- 
ern states and that the relative importance of 
agriculture, including public land ranching, has 
declined. Agriculture is the most significant 
sector or is one of the top industries in many 
states in the West, often contributing more to the 
economy than travel, timber, and mining com- 
bined. In some states, the dollar value of agri- 
cultural sales has been increasing. In several 
states, livestock production is the largest compo- 
nent of agricultural sales. If a complete loss of 
public land grazing occurs under the No Grazing 
Alternative, it could substantially decrease herd 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 118 



sizes in the western states. Alternatively, if 
ranchers held herd sizes constant and public land 
was not available for grazing, supplemental feed 
(e.g., hay) would be required, driving up the 
costs to ranchers. Since calves, lambs, and wool 
are generally sold to out-of-state buyers, de- 
creases in livestock production would show up as 
a loss of new money (export earnings) in the 
West, leading to a contraction in the economic 
base of the states. 

Response: We agree that agriculture, including 
livestock production, is an important industry for 
all Western-state economies and recognize the 
significant contribution it makes to many regions 
and rural communities in the West (see draft 
EIS, pages 3-56 through 3-82). We also recog- 
nize that a sustainable resource base plays a key 
role in agriculture's continued vitality. The 
Preferred Alternative does not propose, nor 
would it cause, "a complete loss of public land 
grazing." Thus, overall economic impacts esti- 
mated under the Preferred Alternative are not 
expected to cause significant adverse impacts to 
this important industry in the long term, al- 
though adverse impacts to some permittees may 
be significant, depending upon their financial 
condition. 

Comment: The impacts ofRangeland Reform '94 
would include further reductions in the availabil- 
ity of public land forage, which comes on top of 
other forage reductions that ELM and the Forest 
Service have previously made. These historic 
reductions have made livestock operations mar- 
ginal; further cuts could put us out of business. 

Response: The draft EIS discusses whether " 
decreasing the supply of public land forage 
would adversely affect some ranch operations. 
(See especially Appendix O, which discloses the 
effects on herd sizes and ranch net returns from 
decreasing the availability of federal forage and 
increasing the grazing fee). The analysis in the 
draft EIS is clear that some livestock producers 
are operating on the margin. It also is clear that 
decreases in the availability of federal forage and 
an increase in the grazing fee would have the 
greatest effect on permittees who most highly 
depend on such forage and have the least flexi- 
bility in substituting alternative forage. The draft 



EIS analysis found, however, that proportion- 
ately few operations fell into the high depen- 
dency group and that only those with already 
marginal cash flows might be affected signifi- 
cantly. 

9. Comment: Studies conducted by the Integrated 
Resource Management Policy Group (IRMPG) 
conclude that with the phase-out of the National 
Wool Act, at least 47 percent of the sheep opera- 
tions with federal permits would go out of busi- 
ness. These figures only include ranches without 
any present debt. For those ranches with debt, 
chances of survival only range from 22-35 
percent. Any costs of federal grazing in addition 
to lost income from the phase-out of the Act 
would reduce the chances of survival to as low 
as seven percent. 

Response: The IRMPG study (Carande and 
others, 1994) did not conclude that 47 percent of 
the sheep permittees would go out of business 
due to the phase-out of the wool incentive pay- 
ments. That study presented a simulation for one 
representative Colorado sheep operation. After 
full phase-out of the wool payments, the simula- 
tion indicated that the operation had a 100 
percent probability of "survival," that is, a 100 
percent probability "that the ranch would remain 
solvent during the simulation period." The 
simulation also indicated that the operation had 
a 53 percent probability of "success," that is, a 
53 percent probability of "earnfing] a return on 
initial equity greater than 5.76 percent." Looked 
at another way, this operation had a 47 percent 
probability of not earning a return on initial 
equity greater than 5.76 percent; this is the 
apparent source of the 47 percent reference in 
the comment. Increasing the debt-to-asset ratios 
in this simulation to 20, 30, and 40 percent 
showed probabilities of "success" between 96 
percent and 81 percent, not 22-35 percent. 

Combining the effect of the loss of the wool 
payments with increased grazing fees and in- 
creased production costs, this operation is esti- 
mated to have a 100 percent probability of 
"survival" (with no debt). At 20-40 percent debt- 
to-asset ratios, the probability of survival is 
estimated to be 90 percent to 63 percent, not 
seven percent. 



119 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Therefore, it is inappropriate to conclude from 
this study's results that 47 percent of the sheep 
operations with federal permits would go out of 
business, or that permittees' chances of survival 
are seven percent when combining the loss of 
wool payments with higher fees and increased 
production costs. 

The IRMPG study noted that the greatest impact 
to this operation's net cash income would result 
from the phase-out of the wool incentive pay- 
ment. But, it further recognized that the fee 
increase would contribute to the sheep industry's 
decline and this is acknowledged in the draft 
EIS. 

10. Comment: Impacts for larger-size operations 
(700 AUs, 1000 AUs, and 1500 AUs) need to be 
shown, at federal forage dependency levels of 
70, 80 and 99 percent. Ranchers with various 
levels of debt would also be useful in analyzing 
effects of higher fees. 

Response: We believe that the size and depen- 
dency of the operations depicted in the draft EIS 
adequately represents most livestock operations 
with federal permits. Data collected in the 1990 
Farm Costs and Return Survey (FCRS) indicate 
that over 90 percent of cattle operations with 
federal permits have less than 500 cows (see 
Appendix G, Table 2, page G-6 of the draft 
EIS). Chapter 3 of the draft EIS also shows the 
average forage dependency of operations in the 
western states, ranging from 11 percent in 
Montana to 60 percent in Arizona (page 3-68). 

1 1 . Comment: The National Wbol Act, which would 
be phased out over the next three years, cur- 
rently provides more than 20 percent of total 
income for the typical sheep operation in the 
Vfest. This dramatic loss of income would finan- 
cially pressure producers to convert to cattle or 
vacate their permits. Additional costs of grazing 
would put even more pressure to convert. 

Response: We recognize that the cumulative 
effect of the loss of wool incentive payments and 
increased costs under the Preferred Alternative 
may cause some operators to go out of business. 
Thus, the long-term trends in the sheep industry 



over the past 50 years toward fewer operations 
and lower sheep inventory would continue. 

12. Comment: If ranchers without alternative forage 
sources go out of business, there would be 
increased concentration and monopolization in 
the livestock industry. This is contrary to public 
policy which encourages continued viability of 
small livestock operators. 

Response: The trend toward fewer but larger 
farms and ranches has existed for decades in all 
regions of the country. In the 1970s, this trend 
slowed, and in the West there was even a slight 
increase in the number of farms. Many of these 
new farms were small part-time farms and this 
caused a decrease in the average farm size in the 
West (Reimund and Gale, 1992). During the 
1980s farm crisis, the trend toward larger farms 
picked up again; but this was caused more by 
fewer entries rather than exits from the business. 
Reimund and Gale estimate that "...exits of 
farmers due to financial stress varied from about 
2 to 4 percent of all farmers during the worst 
years of the [1980s] farm recession," (pages 12- 
13). 

The draft EIS acknowledges that some operators 
may go out of business, depending on their 
particular circumstances. However, there is no 
evidence this would be significant, widespread, 
or that implementation of the Preferred Alterna- 
tive would accelerate the trend toward fewer and 
larger farms and ranches. 

13. Comment: The EIS assumption that only one 
percent of the nation 's cattle herds are on fed- 
eral lands is preposterous. 

Response: The draft EIS states that permitted 
use on federal lands makes up about seven 
percent of beef cattle forage and about two 
percent of the total feed consumed by beef cattle 
in the 48 contiguous states. About a third of 
beef cattle in the West graze at least part of the 
year on federal rangeland (page 3-68 of the draft 
EIS). 

14. Comment: The draft EIS failed to consider 
impacts on small and family owned ranches. 
Small to medium sized family ranch enterprises 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 120 



characterize that portion of the western livestock 
industry holding federal permits. Nationwide, the 
average cow herd size is 1 74 cows; on federal 
allotments average cow herd size is 150 to 188 
cows. The rule-of-thumb minimum herd size for 
a one family ranching operation is 300 cows for 
a viable ranch operations. 

Response: The analysis of economic impacts in 
the draft EIS did consider operations in the range 
indicated in this comment (see, for example, 
pages 4-58, which show impacts to operations 
with herd sizes of 90, 210 and 425). 

NOTE: Comments 15 through 26 pertain to analysis 
conducted by USDA Economic Research Service 
which appears in Appendix G of the draft EIS. 

15. Comment: Economic Research Service (ERS) 
estimates do not match estimates for individual 
ranches or state budgets (extension budgets or 
cost studies). For example, "fi]n Idaho, average 
operating costs for the federal land dependent 
ranch enterprise budget are $334 per cow (ver- 
sus $245 in the ERS report). " Another comment 
states that "fy]ou would notice that there is not 
much difference [between ERS estimates and a 
set of actual New Mexico ranch expense and 
income records] in expenses but a rather large 
difference in income per cow unit. " 

Response: ERS cost and return estimates and 
related production data and estimates differ from 
state and local data for a number of reasons. The 
Farm Costs and Returns Survey data are quite 
variable, from which it follows that some opera- 
tions have characteristics or dollar amounts 
above the ERS averages and some have charac- 
teristics or dollar amounts below the averages. 
Likewise, averages or enterprise budgets from 
any single state or subregion within a state 
would not necessarily coincide exactly with ERS 
sector averages, nor should they be expected to. 
However, as averages across all operations, 
including all levels of management skills, size, 
diversification, natural phenomena, and other 
factors, ERS estimates of permittee receipts and 
cash costs are within the range of budget esti- 
mates published by state extension personnel 
(Torell and Word 1993; Smathers and others 
1990a, b, c) and other published sources (Moline 



and others 1994; Workman 1994). Budget 
estimates from a variety of sources are both 
above and below ERS permittee estimates. 

In addition, extension budgets are often simpli- 
fied and describe relatively pure, often idealized, 
cow/calf-only or other highly specific situations 
and thus cannot be considered as representative 
of even locally average situations. Further, 
budgets from various sources are not directly 
comparable because of differences in objectives, 
methodologies, and even what to include or 
exclude from the budget. These differences 
require that non-ERS budgets must be adjusted 
before they can be compared to ERS estimates. 
For instance, family or operator labor is ex- 
cluded from ERS estimates because hours and 
value for family labor are difficult to assess. 
Other cost items are either omitted from exten- 
sion budgets (like federal grazing fees from the 
Idaho extension budget MS 110-10) but included 
in ERS estimates or vice versa (like including 
family living expenses as cash expenses in 
Wyoming (Moline and others 1994) and includ- 
ing purchased bulls as variable costs in New 
Mexico extension budgets (Torell and Word 
1993). 

16. Comment: Cow numbers decline by less than 
one-to-one as Forest Service/Bureau of Land 
Management (Forest Service/BLM) forage de- 
clines (Tables G-4 through G-7, Appendix G). 

Response: The analysis in tables G-4 through G- 
7, Appendix G of the draft EIS assumes that 
other forage sources (purchased hay, for exam- 
ple) are available and can be substituted for 
Forest Service/BLM forage, although at higher 
costs. Thus, it is not necessary to decrease cow 
numbers one-to-one with reductions in Forest 
Service/BLM forage. This result is not unique to 
Economic Research Service reports. (See for 
example Marousek and others 1994.) 

17. Comment: The 10 states used in the ERS study 
are not truly or wholly representative of the 
spring calving, summer breeding, fall weaning 
and calf sale structure that typifies the cow-calf 
rangeland livestock industry in the 11 western 
states. 



Ill 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Response: Appendix G of the draft EIS and the 
ERS report ("Cow/Calf Ranching in 10 Western 
States," AER 682) summarized a 10-state re- 
gional subset of data collected through the 1990 
Farm Costs and Returns Survey (FCRS) of beef 
cow/calf operations. The FCRS sample was 
designed and drawn by the National Agricultural 
Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agricul- 
ture (NASS) according to rigorous statistical 
procedures to be representative of the U.S. and 
regions. The FCRS is an annual survey in which 
special versions are conducted each year for 
selected commodities on a four- to five-year 
rotation. ERS estimates national and regional 
costs and returns according to procedures ap- 
proved by the National Agricultural Costs of 
Production Standards Review Board (a national 
board made up of producers from all over the 
U.S. who are familiar with the major agricul- 
tural commodities, including cow/calf produc- 
tion, and land-grant university faculty who have 
expertise in farm management economics) for 
those commodities from this data. ERS estimates 
reflect beef cow/calf operations as observed in 
1990, the year of the beef cow/calf specific 
version of the FCRS. 

ERS observed yearling cattle sales due to re- 
tained ownership of calves beyond weaning and 
additional cattle purchased for resale, often 
stocker cattle, for many operations in 1990. The 
observation from the 10-state subset of FCRS 
data that operations do not always sell calves at 
weaning is consistent with other published 
reports characterizing similar groups of Western 
producers (Fowler and others 1994, page 6; 
Molineand others 1994, page 3; and Workman 
1994, page 7). 

Many previous studies presented as representing 
the western livestock industry focus only on 
permittee operations (for example, Fowler and 
other 1994). These permittee-based studies, 
however, do not truly represent the western 
livestock industry because permittees do not 
constitute the whole of the western livestock 
industry. Indeed, permittees comprise a minority 
of less than 10 percent of beef cow/calf produc- 
ers in the 16 western states (24 percent in the 
ERS 10-state study). Nonpermittees comprise 



the majority of 90 percent of western beef 
cow/calf producers in the 16 western states. 

It is inappropriate to suggest that the 
disaggregated individual state and within-state 
subregion extension budgets reflect national or 
multistate regional average costs of production. 
State extension budgets are not always statisti- 
cally based representations of states, sub-state 
regions, or groups of producers because they 
depend on self-selecting groups, they lack ran- 
dom statistical basis for representation, or they 
depend on software developed for often different 
objectives (for example, FINPACK). There are 
notable exceptions. It is also inappropriate to 
expect ERS 10-state regional estimates to repre- 
sent any state extension budget. 

18. Comment: ERS's work is biased because it was 
developed to prove the lack of economic impact 
and the ERS assumptions are not correct or are 
biased to accomplish a desired outcome. 

Response: ERS did not bias the results of the 
analysis for any group's benefit. Cost and return 
estimates for 1991 represent 1990 cost and 
return data (Farm Cost and Returns Survey) 
indexed to 1991 dollar amounts. These costs 
were estimated during 1992 and released and 
published in June 1993 as a national and regional 
cost of production study, Cow/Calf Costs of 
Production, 1990-91, (Agricultural Information 
Bulletin No. 670). The costs themselves were 
estimated according to procedures developed by 
ERS and approved by the National Agricultural 
Costs of Production Standards Review Board. 
ERS cost and return estimation procedures are 
basically consistent from year to year; all obser- 
vations and costs and returns for all commodities 
are treated essentially the same (Economic 
Indicators of the Farm Sector. Costs of Produc- 
tion series). For "Cow/Calf Ranching in 10 
Western States," the previously-estimated costs 
and returns were simply retabulated to reflect 
both permittee and nonpermittee subgroups of 
cow/calf operations. Costs were not reestimated 
for the permittee-nonpermittee analyses. 

19. Comment: There is no support whatsoever for 
the ERS position in the published literature. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 122 



Response: The ERS report is the only study of 
which we are aware that includes both permittee 
and nonpermittee costs and characteristics in 
which data for both groups of cow/calf produc- 
ers were collected using the same survey instru- 
ment, at the same time, and summarized, ana- 
lyzed, and compared using approved procedures. 
The ERS report reflects the western beef 
cow/calf industry because it represents and, thus, 
describes averages for all beef cow/calf ranchers 
in 10 western states with 20 or more cows. 

ERS estimates are supported by the literature in 
several contexts. First, ERS estimates of costs 
and returns are within the range of extension 
budgets and other cost and return studies, for 
example, between New Mexico extension bud- 
gets (Torell and Word 1993) and Wyoming's 
own 400-cow operation study (Moline and others 
1994). 

Second, extension budgets can be used to show 
permittees with cost and net return advantages . 
For example, comparing Idaho's 275-cow per- 
mittee budget (Smathers and others 1990a) with 
their 250-cow nonpermittee budget (Smathers 
and others 1990c), permittees have a total vari- 
able cost advantage of $54.09 and a net return 
advantage of $15.07. New Mexico's budgets 
also vary in their comparison of permittee to 
nonpermittee budgets. However, there is a 
scarcity of nonpermittee budgets, thus limiting 
the potential for comparison. 

Third, in addition to the full enterprise budget 
approach ERS used to investigate differences 
between permittees and nonpermittees, an alter- 
nate approach in the literature is the nonfee cost 
(also called the total cost) approach, where 
nonfee costs are costs that, in addition to fee 
rates, are associated with pasturing cattle on 
Forest Service/BLM versus private leased land. 
While difficult to allocate ERS-estimated line 
item costs specifically to operating on Forest 
Service/BLM versus private leased land, and 
considering different bases, the per-cow, per- 
hundredweight (cwt) basis (ERS) versus the 
animal unit month (AUM) basis of nonfee cost 
studies, some qualitative observations are possi- 
ble. A subset of ERS line item estimates of cost 
items (labor, protein supplements [includes salt 



and minerals], veterinary expenses, livestock 
hauling, fuel, lube, and repairs) that correspond 
to nonfee cost items shows higher permittee 
nonfee costs than nonpermittee costs both per 
cow and per hundredweight. This result is 
consistent with the nonfee cost literature and 
further demonstrates the limitations of such a 
partial -budgeting approach for capturing all of 
the differences between permittees and 
nonpermittees. (See Incentive-Based Grazing Fee 
System for other criticisms of the nonfee meth- 
odology [USDA/USDI, 1993].) 

Fourth, ERS's estimates represent the beef 
cow/calf industry as observed in 1990-91. Exten- 
sion budgets often focus on narrower needs. For 
example, the lack of consideration of retained 
ownership of calves in extension budgets is 
inconsistent with findings in both our own study 
and with other studies (Fowler and others 1994, 
p. 6; Moline and others 1994, p. 3; and Work- 
man 1994, p. 7). 

20. Comment: The ERS study mistakenly assumes 
that the operator would sell 20 percent of the 
mother herd each year. 

Response: It was not necessary to make as- 
sumptions in the ERS analysis about cow culling 
rates or certain other production characteristics. 
Data on number of cows sold were reported by 
operators on the Farm Costs and Returns Survey 
(FCRS) questionnaire, as were data on calves 
born, cow inventories, and other production 
data. The FCRS data showed that the ratio of 
cows sold to cows and heifers bred to calve in 
1990 (hereafter referred to as the "culling rate") 
was 12 percent. ERS estimates of culling rates 
are consistent with other published culling rate 
information: 14 percent in Utah (Workman 
1994), 17 percent assumed in Idaho extension 
budgets (Smathers and others 1990a,b,c), and 
11-15 percent assumed in New Mexico extension 
budgets (Torell and Word 1993). 

21. Comment: Three states affected by Rangeland 
Reform '94, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington, 
were omitted from the ERS 10-state study of 
costs and returns to ranching. 



123 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Response: Several western states were left out 
of the ERS 10-state analysis for various reasons. 
Arizona and Nevada each had less than one 
percent of the national beef cow herd in 1990, so 
were not among the 31 states from which the 
Farm Costs and Returns Survey (FCRS) sample 
observations were drawn for the national and 
regional beef cow/calf cost and return estimates. 
Washington was excluded from the 10-state 
report because no permittee operations were 
included in our sample of Washington beef 
cow /calf operations. Only states with samples 
containing both permittees and nonpermittees 
were included in the analyses. 

The 10-state subsample of FCRS data summa- 
rized in the draft EIS Appendix G and AER 682 
appears to be representative of the 10-state beef 
cow/calf industry. In the 10-state subsample, 
permittees accounted for 24 percent of opera- 
tions and 43 percent of beef cows. These per- 
centages compare quite favorably with data from 
other sources. The ratio of the number of per- 
mits (which is slightly larger than the number of 
permittees) to total beef cow operations (USDA- 
NASS, Cattle) was 25 percent for the 10 states 
used in the ERS analyses. The 10 states in 
Appendix G and the ERS report account for 91 
percent of the total number of Forest Ser- 
vice/BLM permits in the 17 western states. 
Arizona, Nevada, and Washington account for 
only eight percent of the total number of Forest 
Service/BLM permits in the 17 western states. 
Finally, the 10-state subsample contained over a 
third of the total number of observations from 
the 1990 cow/calf version of the national FCRS 
cow/calf sample. 

22. Comment: Appendix G (draft EIS) and the ERS 
report "Cow/Calf Ranching in 10 Western 
States " (AER 682) were not peer reviewed. 

Response: This is incorrect. Both Appendix G 
and AER 682 went through a formal peer-review 
process that is standard at ERS. 

23. Comment: The ERS study results are invalid 
because they did not adjust the data to account 
for economies of size. 



Response: ERS incorporated size as one of 
several key factors explaining costs and returns 
to beef cow/calf producers in 10 western states. 
ERS found that size alone did not account for all 
of the differences between permittee and 
nonpermittee costs and returns. The draft EIS 
and AER 682 reported on two factors that 
accounted for much of the differences in costs 
and returns between permittees and 
nonpermittees: (1) permits to graze Forest 
Service/BLM land and (2) size of operation as 
measured by both number of cows and number 
of stockers. 

Size was treated in several ways. In Appendix G 
of the draft EIS, size subgroups were reported in 
Table 3 (page G-8). A brief qualitative report of 
regression results was also included in both 
Appendix G (page G-8) and in AER 682 (pages 
6-7). Regressions were conducted as an alterna- 
tive to the comparisons of size subgroup means. 
Regressions were used to examine size by both 
comparing subgroups using binary variables for 
size groups and directly by incorporating the 
number of cows in each herd and the numbers of 
purchased stockers as explanatory variables. 

24. Comment: Capital replacement was not included 
in the ERS budget analysis. 

Response: It is customary to exclude capital 
replacement from short-run marginal analysis 
because, as a constant, capital replacement has 
no marginal effect. Capital replacement was 
excluded from the analysis in Tables 4-7 (see 
Appendix G of the draft EIS, pages G-l 1 to G- 
15) because it would have been a constant and 
would not have affected changes in cow numbers 
(Tables 4-6). In Table 7, including capital re- 
placement would have changed dollar amounts 
by a constant in only the cash costs and net 
returns columns. 

25 . Comment: Elasticity of substitution is not rele- 
vant to real effects to individual permittee ranch- 
ers. 

Response: Elasticity of substitution measures 
how well one input, like purchased hay, can 
substitute for another, such as Forest Ser- 
vice/BLM forage. As the elasticity of substitu- 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 124 



tion grows more and more negative, that is, as 
it goes from -1.01 to -100 (see Appendix G of 
the draft EIS, Tables 4-6, pages G-ll to G-13), 
inputs become better and better substitutes for 
one another. In the context of Tables 4-7 (pages 
G-ll to G-15 of the draft EIS) this means specif- 
ically that other forage sources, including pur- 
chased hay, other leased pasture, and/or other 
forage sources, become better and better substi- 
tutes for Forest Service/BLM forage. At some 
large negative number, they become perfect 
substitutes. 

Elasticities of substitution for inputs in the 
analysis in Appendix G were assumed values; 
they were not statistical estimates from the 
FCRS data. As assumed values, the elasticities 
of substitution in the analysis have no standard 
deviations. Other assumed values from among 
those analyzed could have been used in Table 7 
and would have yielded qualitatively identical 
but slightly different numerical results (see 
Tables 4-6). ERS is not aware of estimates of 
elasticities of substitution for forages in the 
literature, and did not estimate elasticities in its 
analyses. 

A wide range of assumed elasticities of substitu- 
tion was analyzed to give an idea of the full 
variation in results from one extreme (not very 
good substitutes) to the other (almost perfect 
substitutes). An elasticity of substitution of -30 
(Tables 4-7) suggests that other forages may be 
substituted for Forest Service/BLM forage, but 
that they are less than perfect substitutes. This 
seems reasonable in view of the fact that pur- 
chased hay and/or other forages are available as 
substitutes for Forest Service/BLM forage and 
serve quite well as forage for grazing livestock. 
These alternatives are almost always available to 
ranchers, although at some cost. 

26. Comment: The ERS ranch-budget analysis 
should have been conducted on a per acre basis, 
and it is not clear howfeedlots were factored in. 

Response: Analysis on a per acre basis is not a 
good basis for comparison because there is so 
much variation in quality of land across the 
western states, and even within each state. Also, 
Joyce (1989) estimates that only about half of 



Forest Service land actually provides forage for 
livestock, which would further distort per acre 
comparisons. 

Cow/calf operations where more than 10 percent 
of the total cattle sold were sold as 'fed cattle' 
were excluded from the FCRS and were not 
analyzed at the national or regional levels in the 
general cow/calf analyses, nor at the 10-state 
level which was the basis for the analysis in 
Appendix G. In addition to the fact that feedlots 
were excluded from the general FCRS analyses, 
they were not included in the 10-state study for 
a variety of reasons. First, there are no feedlots 
on federal land. Second, feedlots are not consid- 
ered part of the beef cow/calf enterprise. 

Permit value 

1 . Comment: University studies have shown that an 
increase in the grazing fee would not only de- 
crease net income but would also reduce the 
asset value of the ranch. This would occur 
because the grazing permit, purchased along 
with other ranch assets, would lose value as the 
fee is raised. If the fee is raised to a high enough 
level, the permit would lose all of its former 
value. Ranchers would then be left with a debt 
backed by an asset with less value. Some ranch- 
ers are reporting that their operations have had 
a substantial decrease in asset value already, 
due to the uncertainty surrounding grazing fees. 
Others report that the value of federal permits 
has declined by nearly $400 million since 1986, 
resulting in a concomitant decrease in private 
investment in range improvements on public 
lands. 

Response: It should be clearly understood that 
there is no private property right created by 
issuance and retention of a grazing permit. This 
is discussed fully under Current Fee Formula, 
Response 17. 

In theory, as the grazing fee increases, the value 
of federal grazing permits to the permittees 
declines because there is less economic advan- 
tage to holding a grazing permit. The lost to the 
permittees would depend upon how close the 
proposed $3.96 per AUM is to the market value 
of the public forage on allotments. If the pro- 



125 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



posed fee is less than the market value, then the 
entire permit value would not be lost to the 
permittee. 

The impact of reducing the value of the permit 
is most significant for permittees who have just 
recently borrowed money to purchase ranches 
with federal permits. On an individual basis, 
permittees could experience serious financial 
problems if they paid too much for their permits 
or did not discount the value in anticipation of 
future changes in the fee and tenure. The finan- 
cial problem is compounded if the lending 
agency did not discount the permit value and 
loaned a high percentage of the purchase price. 

For permittees who have held their permits for 
years, the impact of reduced permit value may 
be less significant. They may not be losing out- 
of-pocket money, just the option of selling the 
permit for a higher price. Even if they "pur- 
chased" the permit a number of years ago, the 
impact may not be significant because they have 
essentially amortized their cost through a lower 
fee. 

Resolving the fee issue would be healthy for the 
market. Permits would be neither over-valued 
nor under-valued, and both seller and prospec- 
tive buyer would benefit. Also, lending institu- 
tions may be overreacting to the situation, and 
they too would benefit from more stability and 
reduced uncertainty. 

2. Comment: It appears that the government is 
trying to deny the existence of a market for 
permits and the value of the permit in those 
markets at the same time it is trying to create a 
new market by letting environmental organiza- 
tions acquire permits and retire them for conser- 
vation use. Permits are traded in the market like 
other types of property, and increasing the 
grazing fee would devalue the permits and ranch 
values, and thus reduce the property tax base. 

Response: The private real estate market for 
base properties with associated permits has 
ascribed a value to grazing permits. However, 
this is a private market transaction. The private 
real estate market may treat permits like other 
types of property, but a permit (privilege to 



graze federal land ) may only be transferred 
upon the approval of the government. A new 
owner of base property must be qualified and 
accept the terms and conditions of the permit 
before the permit can be transferred. The 
conservation use proposal does not create a new 
real estate market for permits but may recognize 
these entities as qualified to hold permits in the 
same market. See Fees, Response 17. 

An increase in the grazing fee would not reduce 
property taxes in most states. Most states clas- 
sify, appraise, and assess private land apart from 
any leased land in the ranch. 

3. Comment: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 
specifically recognizes and taxes permit value. 
The government should be consistent in recogniz- 
ing permit value. 

Response: BLM and the Forest Service are not 
being inconsistent with the IRS because these are 
two entirely different issues. The IRS includes 
the value of grazing permits in the appraisal of 
assets that are transferred through inheritance. 
This is a transfer of wealth from the private 
estate of the deceased to another private party. 
The IRS is taxing the transfer of wealth from 
one private party to another. The BLM/Forest 
Service issue has to do with whether the govern- 
ment should pay permittees for their investment 
in permits. If a new owners of base property 
applies, is qualified and accepts the terms and 
conditions, a permit may be issued. The gov- 
ernment does not transfer any property rights. 
Recognizing grazing permit value and giving 
permittees credit for it in calculating the fee 
amounts to government compensation for an 
asset which was never transferred from the 
owners (the public) to permittees. See Fees, 
Response 17. 

4. Comment: The draft EIS used the concept that 
permit value is the capitalized difference between 
the grazing fee and the cost of comparable 
private forage. This concept has not been empiri- 
cally confirmed. Further, it is an outdated expla- 
nation of the source of permit value. A recently 
developed concept that has been empirically 
confirmed is that permit value may be due to 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 126 



allowing the base property ranch to achieve 
economy of size. 

Response: Economists including Roberts (1963), 
Gardner (1962, 1963), Nielsen and Wennergren 
(1970), Torell and Doll (1991), Torell and 
others (1992), and Workman (1988) have ex- 
plored the theoretical reasons for permit value. 
Their concept and the one used in the draft EIS 
is that permit value is the apparent capitalized 
cost advantage that leasing public land grazing 
has over leasing private land grazing. 

Apparently, a research study of permit values in 
Eastern Oregon and Nevada (Iqbal 1993) con- 
firmed empirically that permit value is due to the 
contribution that federal permits make to the 
economy of size of ranch operations. It is proba- 
bly true that federal permits contribute to econ- 
omy of size as the research indicates, but the 
point that is not researched is that private land 
grazing leases also contribute to the economy of 
size of ranches. They both contribute to econ- 
omy of size; there is no difference in this re- 
spect. 

The factor that is different is that it costs more 
to lease private grazing land than federal land 
grazing even after adjustments are made for 
nonfee costs. Since private and federal leases 
both contribute to economy of size, the differ- 
ence is that private lands costs more to lease 
than federal lands; it is difficult to understand 
how permit value could be due to the contribu- 
tion to size and not the capitalization of cost 
differences. 

There does not seem to be any satisfactory 
explanation for this discrepancy; therefore, the 
capitalization concept of permit value that has 
been advanced by many economists for years 
and used in the draft EIS is not outdated and is 
still valid. 

5. Comment: The meaning of this statement (on 
page 4-11) is unclear: "As a general rule, a 
ranching operation which possesses a grazing 
permit is worth more than a similarly-situated 
ranching operation that does not possess a 
grazing permit. " 



Response: This sentence and the next two 
sentences in that paragraph of the draft EIS have 
been deleted. (See the Text section in Chapter 
5 of this document). 

6. Comment: Total loss of grazing does not "essen- 
tially " eliminate permit value, as stated on page 
4-11. It completely eliminates it. Also, the draft 
EIS states (page 4-12) that the loss to a permit- 
tee of the ranch's economic viability "could" be 
significant. This loss would be significant. 

Response: The text containing these statements 
has been changed as follows. Page 4-11: 
"Whereas increasing grazing fees reduces permit 
value, total loss of public grazing eliminates the 
value of the permit." Page 4-12: "If the loss of 
federal grazing results in a ranch losing eco- 
nomic viability, then the loss would be signifi- 
cant." 

7. Comment: When the owner of a grazing permit 
is in default and a lending institution forecloses, 
the lending institution should merely obtain all 
rights to the allotment that the permittee had 
without the Forest Service or BLM being in- 
volved in the transaction. 

Response: As stated in previous responses in 
this section, there is no property right by law 
inherent in the issuance and retention of a graz- 
ing permit. A lending institution that holds a 
federal grazing permit obtained through foreclo- 
sure on the ranch operation which previously 
held the permit, obtains no property right. The 
lending institution may not automatically acquire 
the grazing permit through foreclosure on the 
base property. The permit can only be trans- 
ferred upon approval of the BLM ( reissued in 
the case of the Forest Service). Likewise, if the 
lending institution were to dispose of the base 
property and the associated federal grazing 
permit to recoup its losses; the transfer of the 
permit must be approved by the BLM (reissued 
in the case of the Forests Service) because only 
they have authority over the permit. Further, 
the new pemit holder must be qualified and 
would be required to accept all terms and condi- 
tions of the permit. 

Lending institutions 



127 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



1 . Comment: Banks and other lending institutions 
are already cutting back on lending to public 
land ranchers due to uncertainty created by 
Rangeland Reform '94. They would curtail 
lending to public land ranchers even more in the 
future. Financial institutions with large portfolios 
of loans to public land ranchers may also go out 
of business. Throughout the West financial 
institutions have made many millions of dollars 
in production loans. Most of these would either 
be foreclosed or be forced to extend beyond 
normal banking practices. In summary, Range- 
land Reform '94 would lead to the "Great De- 
pression of 1994" in western states. In some 
cases ranches that have been operating profitably 
or have had positive cash flows after all costs 
are paid and debt is serviced may become un- 
profitable, making it questionable or unlikely that 
they could continue to obtain financing from 
banks. Operations that have substantial long- 
term debt secured by real estate, high debt/equity 
ratios, and/or operators with no offranch income 
would be especially affected. 

Response: Under the Preferred Alternative, 
federal forage availability is estimated to decline 
three percent more than under continuation of 
Current Management in the long term (20 
years). In the long term, improved rangeland 
health under the Preferred Alternative would 
result in greater sustainability of rangeland 
resources and thus greater sustainability for 
livestock operations with federal permits. In 
addition, the increase in the grazing fee would 
be phased-in over a three-year period, allowing 
ranchers some time to anticipate increased costs 
and adjust their operations. Thus, the impact to 
lending institutions would not be significant. The 
draft EIS acknowledges that already-marginal 
operations, those with the highest dependency on 
federal forage, fewest alternatives to federal 
forage, and/or poorest financial condition, would 
be the most adversely affected. It should be 
noted that an economic analysis of the impacts of 
the fee increase would be conducted during the 
phase-in period. Decisions on full implementa- 
tion of the fee increase would be re-evaluated 
based on that economic analysis. See also Lend- 
ing Institutions, Response 3. 



2. Comment: Rangeland Reform '94 proposals that 
reduce the ownership interest of ranchers in their 
operations, such as the claiming by the govern- 
ment of water rights and range improvements, 
would lead to a situation in which no banker 
with common sense would loan money to a 
public lands rancher. Without loans, the ranches 
would not be able to keep operating and would 
have to liquidate. 

Response: Under the Preferred Alternative, 
valid existing rights would not be affected as the 
BLM policy regarding range improvements and 
water rights would apply prospectively. Forest 
Service policy regarding ownership of range 
improvements and water rights would not 
change. Effects of the Preferred Alternative on 
livestock operations and on banks and lending 
institutions that lend money to ranchers were 
addressed in responses to other comments. See 
Lending Institutions, Response 1., 3., and 5. 

3. Comment: The Farmers Home Administration 
(FmHA) concluded that about half of public land 
ranchers with FmHA direct loans [about 60 
percent in New Mexico or 116 ranchers, 45 
percent or 38 ranchers in Colorado, 51 percent 
or 38 ranchers in Wyoming and 165 ranchers or 
46 percent in Montana] would not cashflow with 
the higher grazing fee level. This means that a 
total of 357 ranchers in these four western states 
can expect to lose their financing due to the 
proposed increase in the grazing fee. The data 
does not even consider the additional burden of 
increased management costs not related to 
increased fees. This is further evidence that 
Rangeland Reform '94 would create a financial 
crisis, forcing many permittees out of business 
immediately. 

Response: We disagree. This interpretation of 
the FmHA data is incorrect. Further review of 
the data in the FmHA study reveals that the 
potential impact is not as significant nor as 
widespread as reported. In Montana, for exam- 
ple, permittees who are FmHA borrowers that 
would not cash flow at $3.96/AUM represent 
only about three percent of Montana permittees, 
and more than four out of five of these have 
zero or negative cash flow now. In New Mex- 
ico, operators who would not cash flow at $3.96 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 128 



per AUM represent about four percent of that 
state's permittees; about two-thirds of this group 
currently have zero or negative cash flow. Those 
permittee/borrowers who currently have positive 
cash flow but would have negative cash flow at 
the higher fee levels represent 0.6 percent of 
permittees in Montana and 0.8 percent in New 
Mexico. Thus, the number of permittees poten- 
tially affected is small, and a high proportion of 
those affected are already in quite marginal 
condition. This is not surprising since it is 
necessary to be refused financing by three lend- 
ing institutions before being considered for 
FmHA financing. 

Further, FmHA did not conclude that these 
permittee/borrowers would lose their financing 
and face default. FmHA routinely works with 
borrowers to adjust to these types of financial 
changes. FmHA provides assistance in the form 
of primary loan servicing options, which include 
deferred payments, rescheduling and 
reamortization. Also, FmHA works closely with 
direct loan borrowers to adjust their ranch 
operations to respond to such changes as fee 
increases. In most instances, problems are 
resolved and loan default is avoided. 

It can be concluded that the financial impact on 
this small group of permittees with FmHA loans 
is a worst-case scenario. This is because there 
are probably few, if any, BLM/Forest Service 
permittees that are as financially stressed as this 
group of permittees. 

4. Comment: Just as ranchers would see a reduc- 
tion in their net worth because of the decrease in 
permit value and reduced salability of their 
operations due to the higher fees, so also lending 
institutions would show reduced assets on their 
books. When lending institutions are audited, 
they may have to adjust their lending practices to 
meet regulatory requirements on the ratio of 
loans to assets. In cases where lenders adjust the 
terms of repayment on permittees ' loans, their 
ability to lend to other borrowers would be 
affected and total economic activity would de- 
crease. 

Response: See Lending Institutions, Responses 
1. and 3., and Permit Value, Response 1. 



5. Comment: The Federal Land Banks Association 
of Southern Colorado and the Farm Credit 
Services of New Mexico (FLBA) have more than 
500 loans, totaling about $90 million, to public 
lands cattle ranches. Most of these ranches could 
not remain viable without the use of federal 
lands. As a lender, we must conclude that forc- 
ing many of these ranches out of business would 
not only be devastating for them but also for us, 
as financial institutions, and to the communities 
of the rural West. 

Response: We recognize the importance of a 
stable agriculture industry to financial institutions 
and rural communities in the West. Under the 
Preferred Alternative, permittees would not lose 
access to federal forage, although AUM use is 
estimated to decline slightly in the long term due 
to changes in rangeland management (three 
percent more than under continuation of Current 
Management). It is also recognized that the 
proposed increase in grazing fees may be greater 
than some permittees are willing to pay. How- 
ever, it is not known whether these permittees 
would go out of business, find alternative 
sources of forage, or adjust their herd sizes. 

There are 4,500 institutions that qualify as 
agricultural banks. Loans they have made to 
agricultural operators total in the tens of billions 
of dollars. Only a small part of their farm loans 
are to public land ranchers. There is no credible 
basis for concluding that substantial numbers of 
ranchers would be forced out of business by the 
Preferred Alternative. Data suggest that even in 
periods of extreme financial stress exits from 
ranching do not reach devastating levels (Stam 
and others 1991). The normal rate, about 25 
exits per year per thousand operations, goes up 
to an average of 49 per thousand during periods 
of financial stress. This raise several interesting 
points. First, many exits from livestock produc- 
tion occur in normal years. Thus, attributing all 
future failures of public land ranches to the 
Preferred Alternative would be misleading. 
Second, most operators survive periods of 
increased financial stress. Clearly then, even 
during periods of increased stress, most ranchers 
remain viable. Thus, it is incorrect to conclude 
that many ranches would be forced out of busi- 
ness by financial stresses associated with the 



129 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Preferred Alternative, with devastating effects 
on their lenders. See Lending Institutions, Re- 
sponse 1.; and Livestock Operations/Livestock 
Industry, Response 1. 

General Economics 

1 . Comment: Raising the grazing fee would not 
result in increased revenues to the federal trea- 
sury. So many small ranchers would go out of 
business due to the higher fees that the federal 
government would actually take in less revenue. 
The impact analysis should discuss the effects on 
revenues collected by the federal treasury. 

Response: The analysis of impacts to grazing fee 
receipts assumed that the amount of forage 
demanded would remain constant at $3.96/AUM 
(see draft EIS page 4-17). The amount of public 
forage demanded would decrease at the higher 
fee level for some operations, but over the long 
run this forage capacity is likely to be acquired 
by other operations. Thus, with the same quan- 
tity of forage demanded at the higher fee level, 
revenues to the federal treasury would increase. 

2. Comment: If the U.S. Government raises the 
federal grazing fee substantially or if it regulates 
livestock operators off the public lands, then the 
supply of U.S. beef may decrease to the point 
that more red meat would need to be imported. 
How would we know whether the imported beef 
is of acceptable quality and safe to eat? How 
would this affect consumer prices, the export of 
U.S. beef to other countries, and the balance of 
payments deficit? In California and New Mexico, 
beef exports rank in the top five in bringing in 
earnings. 

Response: Under the No Grazing Alternative 
(the most extreme scenario for the permittee) the 
impact on red meat prices was estimated to be 
slight (see draft EIS page 4-120). Under the 
Preferred Alternative, the long-term decrease in 
AUMs is estimated to be about three percent 
greater than under continuation of Current 
Management. This level of AUM reduction is 
not expected to affect red meat prices. 

3. Comment: In our view, the added recreation 
visitor days resulting from the improvement in 



environmental health that would accompany 
Rangeland Reform '94 (and the related growth in 
hunting, fishing, tourism and water-based recre- 
ation) would completely offset the minimal loss of 
employment in ranching. These increased visitor 
days would also totally offset any projected loss 
of personal income. Because of the potential 
benefits of increased recreation and tourism, we 
want you to remove livestock from all water 
sources as soon as possible and to implement a 
no net loss of wildlife habitat policy on the 
public lands. 

Response: As explained in the draft EIS, in- 
creased recreation is to some degree expected to 
mitigate adverse impacts to income and employ- 
ment of reduced cattle and sheep production. 
Where and to what degree this would occur is 
unknown. There is no reason to believe that such 
mitigation would necessarily occur everywhere 
that employment and income decrease as a result 
of reduced cattle and sheep production. See 
Riparian Health/Condition, Response 13. 

4. Comment: We anticipate that the Proposed 
Action would result in an annual effect on the 
economy of $100 million or more. Thus, we 
request that a Regulatory Impact Analysis be 
conducted under Executive Order 12291. 

Response: Executive Order 12291 was revoked 
on September 30, 1993, and was replaced by 
Executive Order 12866. The analysis presented 
in the draft EIS meets the requirements of this 
new executive order. In addition, the agencies 
also met the requirements of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605 et seq.) by prepar- 
ing an initial Small Entity Flexibility Assess- 
ment. Notice of Availability of this assessment 
was provided in the Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (Federal Register, Vol. 59, No. 58, 
dated March 25, 1994). 

5. Comment: The economic analysis fails to ac- 
count for the substantial economic benefits 
attributable to improved ecosystem and wildlife 
conditions that would result from reductions in 
current grazing levels. In addition, much more 
consideration needs to be given to the economic 
benefits derived from recreational uses of the 
range. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 130 



Response: The economic analysis for all alterna- 
tives does acknowledge that environmental 
resources, such as watersheds, air and water 
quality, visual amenities, fish and wildlife habi- 
tat, ecosystem health, biodiversity, and resource 
sustainability, have significant nonmarket values 
and should be considered when establishing 
public policy for rangeland management (see 
draft EIS, page 4-13). It also pointed out that 
these economic values are not easily identified, 
that is, quantified. Nevertheless, benefits from 
improved environmental conditions should still 
be considered, even though these improvements 
may not be quantified in economic terms. The 
environmental analysis in the draft EIS provides 
the basis for this consideration. 

We agree that recreation is a significant use of 
the public lands and believe that the level of 
analysis in the EIS is sufficient for the program- 
matic nature of the Rangeland Reform '94 
proposal. 

Social 

1 . Comment: The EIS needs to acknowledge that 
there are likely to be severe social and cultural 
impacts on permittees unable to pay higher fees 
and maintain a viable ranching operation. Job 
loss is experienced as a threatening event and 
can result in personal illness, impaired emotional 
functioning, diminished self-esteem, and sub- 
stance abuse. Economic stress harms families 
and can result in emotional conflict, physical 
violence, abandonment of the elderly, and ad- 
justment problems for teenagers. Financial stress 
or loss of family businesses, such as farms and 
ranches, makes all family members subject to the 
trauma usually associated with job losses other- 
wise restricted to one member of the family. In 
this case, you are forcing a culture and a way of 
life to be changed without any justification. 

Response: Impacts to farm populations offered 
by Judith and William Heffernan (Heffernan and 
Heffernan 1985) wre donsidered in the draft 
EIS. The draft EIS does acknowledge the poten- 
tial for adverse impacts to some individuals who 
are unable to maintain viable ranching opera- 
tions. These impacts were investigated during 



the preparation of the draft EIS and are dis- 
cussed on page 4-14. 

2. Comment: Not only would Rangeland Reform 
'94 have devastating effects on the ranching 
industry, it would have a detrimental effect on 
the communities of the West in general. The 
Farmers Home Administration just released data 
that shows that if the Rangeland Reform '94 plan 
is put into effect, 51 percent of the ranchers that 
have operating loans with the agency would be 
forced out of business. The economic stress due 
to lost jobs would impose severe impacts on 
ranchers and their families, burdening our 
service budgets for health care, unemployment, 
and social services. 

Response: The draft EIS acknowledges the 
potential for adverse effects to some communi- 
ties in the West. Reports on the effects to farm 
communities during economic difficulties 
(Albrecht, Murdock, and Hamm, 1988; Albercht 
and dothers, 1988) were considered in the draft 
EIS. These effects were investigated during the 
preparation of the draft EIS and are discussed on 
pages 4-14 and 4-15 and in the specific impact 
section for each alternative. The economic 
effects to ranchers and communities are dis- 
cussed in Local Communities, Response 1 . For 
a discussion of the Farmers Home Administra- 
tion data, see Lending Institutions, Response 3 . 

3. Comment: On page 4-14, lines 41-51, the sen- 
tence beginning "Groups such as . . ." through 
the end of the paragraph conveys an arrogant 
impact on this reader. What significance do these 
statements have beyond an obvious disregard for 
some hardworking Americans? 

Response: This is an important discussion about 
the way these groups identify with the type of 
work they do and how difficult it would be for 
them to change their work. It is not meant to 
trivialize these groups but to emphasize their 
unique ties to their work. 

4. Comment: This EIS deliberately ignores capital 
investments made by permittees and treats the 
livestock operators as though they are simply 
"playing cowboy. " The EIS point blank says that 
it expects members of ranching families to seek 



131 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



supplemental employment off the ranch unit to be 
able to continue the ranching lifestyle. This idea 
supports my contention that the preparers of this 
document are ignorant of the industry, biased 
against it, and arrogant. Ranching is a business, 
not merely a way of life. 

Response: The draft EIS does not say that 
ranchers should seek supplemental off ranch 
employment to continue ranching. It does say 
that ranchers may respond to losses in income in 
a variety of ways, one of which may be to 
choose to work off the ranch. 

5. Comment: Page 3-76, Ranchers. The statement 
by Jobes (1986) seems a poor selection to be 
included here, "ranchers err because they partic- 
ipate in the myth, " etc. I cannot think of a single 
profession that does not have some stereotype or 
myth that has become associated with it such as 
realtors, teachers, lawyers, politicians, garbage 
collectors, etc. This statement plays to urban 
dwellers who may think of a stockgrower as a 
proud, dumb hick with manure on his/her boots. 
The statement is an unnecessary rebuttal to the 
previous paragraph. 

Response: Our analysis is not meant to be 
critical of ranchers; it is meant to identify the 
stage for some of the stress and problems that 
might be experienced by the ranching community 
due, in part, to disparities between expectations 
and reality. 

6. Comment: Decisions on whether to increase 
grazing fees should be based on a balanced 
evaluation in which analysts prepare realistic 
estimates of: (1) the probability that family 
businesses would fail as a result of grazing fee 
increases and/or reductions in allotments; (2) the 
probability that family members would suffer 
physical illness or emotional stress; (3) the costs 
of intervening to prevent these adverse social 
impacts; (4) the costs of mitigating these impacts 
when they occur, including losses in human life 
and productivity; and (5) the revenue losses to 
state and local government that depend on these 
businesses for revenue. Methods exist for making 
all of these estimates. 



Response: The draft EIS discussed economic 
impacts of each alternative at both the macro and 
micro level. Impacts on ranch income and 
operation were also discussed for operations at 
three differing herd sizes and two levels of 
dependency. Potential social impacts to ranch 
employees and their families are also discussed 
in the draft EIS. See Local Communities, Re- 
sponse 1.; Social, Response 30.; and Process, 
Response 10. 

7. Comment: The draft EIS improperly injects 
speculation and opinion into the description of 
the beliefs of farm operators. Page 3-65, para- 
graph 1, sentence 3 ("The growing impor- 
tance.... "). This statement is purely speculative 
and self-serving. It is improper for the govern- 
ment to make such speculative conclusions in an 
EIS about the "beliefs" of farm operators. A 
writer with a different point of view could simi- 
larly speculate that most farm operators would 
prefer to see agricultural programs and policies 
strengthened in order to maintain and increase 
their household income from on-the-farm activi- 
ties. This statement should be stricken. 

Response: The sentence referring to farm opera- 
tors' beliefs has been changed to say, "The 
growing importance of off-farm income to farm 
households implies that, for most farm operator 
households, public policies that strengthen the 
rural non-agricultural economy are more impor- 
tant to maintaining household income than are 
agricultural commodity programs and policies." 

8. Comment: The EIS talks of ranch families and 
permittees and lightly talks of employees. Have 
you really looked into the social conditions and 
economic conditions of the employees ? 

Response: The economics section discusses the 
number of employees who would be adversely 
affected westwide. In the social section, the 
effects described at the individual rancher and 
community level apply to ranch employees as 
well as ranch owners. 

9. Comment: Draft EIS, page 4-122: "Most 
permittees would adjust ranch operations to 
remain in business. " I oppose this statement. 
Most of the ranchers would be forced out of 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 132 



business. There would not be enough to make a 
living. 

Response: While this is a common concern, the 
analysis in the draft EIS does not support this 
conclusion. See Local Communities, Response 
1. 

10. Comment: Under Social Conditions, the draft 
EIS refers to three categories for its "public 
interest groups. " Ranchers are segregated from 
"recreationists " and "people concerned about the 
environment. " This sends the wrong message 
about the intent and character of the rancher, 
like "he is not a person of fun, his own person, 
or concerned about the environment ". I request 
a better image be given of the rancher/permittee, 
that of one who is concerned and cares about the 
environment through his productive years of 
caretaking and stewarding the land, that he is 
capable of working with other groups to further 
mutual causes, and that he enjoys the beauty of 
nature even more so than the average citizen, 
that he has worked with the land, not against it! 

Response: In the EIS, people are grouped into 
ranchers, recreationists, and environmentalists to 
make it easier to discuss social impacts. Of 
course, groupings like these greatly simplify the 
members' actual values and attitudes. In addi- 
tion, there is extensive crossover among the 
groups. Ranchers engage in recreation and are 
concerned about the environment. Recreationists 
are concerned about ranching and preservation of 
open space. The preparers of the EIS summa- 
rized the limited literature on the values of 
ranchers. See pages 3-75 to 3-77 of the draft 
EIS. 

1 1 . Comment: Have any studies shown exactly what 
effects Rangeland Reform '94 would have on 
small farming and ranching communities basi- 
cally dependent on the ranching industry? 

Response: Local Communities, Response 1 
discusses the potential for economic effects to 
communities. The Social impact analysis also 
looks at the potential effects to small ranching 
communities (see Chapter 4 of the draft EIS). 



12. Comment: The analysis of grazing fee and 
regulatory burdens should include the cost and 
losses to society, our already overburdened 
budgets, and reduced county tax revenues. 

Response: The social impact assessment exam- 
ines the effects of the proposals on different 
groups in society such as ranchers and their 
communities, recreationists, and environmental- 
ists. Effects on county revenues are addressed in 
the Local Communities, Response 1 . The budget 
analysis is outside the scope of the EIS; see 
Process, Response 8. 

13. Comment: Although the proposed fee increase 
would double the current fee, your analysis 
claims that this fee would not significantly affect 
the stability of the dependent western livestock 
industry. It also states that those who do not 
have off ranch income may have to sell their 
ranches or find part-time jobs. How can it be 
said that having to give up a way of life is 
insignificant? For most of the ranchers that I 
know, that is the only life they have ever had. 
Are they expected to just give up and start over? 
A lot of our ranchers are probably 50 plus. If 
these people lose their farms or ranches because 
of this increase that they cannot cope with, these 
people have nowhere to go. People 50 years old 
or 55 years old, believe me, there is not an 
employment market out therefor them. In addi- 
tion, please explain how you determined that the 
fee increase would have little or no effect on 
local communities without conducting an EIS for 
each and every county to back your claims. 

Response: The stability of the western livestock 
industry is addressed in Local Communities. 
Page 4^4 of the draft EIS discusses the potential 
difficulties ranchers may face when changing 
employment. 

14. Comment: When the United States sends delega- 
tions to foreign countries to write management 
plans for their economic development and envi- 
ronmental protection, a major goal is to preserve 
the cultural traditions and diversity found in 
those regions. Nothing is mentioned in Range- 
land Reform '94 about preserving the traditions 
and diversity tied to the grazing culture of our 17 
western states. This programmatic EIS covers the 



133 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



entire U.S. and does not adequately address 
effects of proposed changes on local custom and 
culture and adverse environmental/social impacts 
to graziers. 

Response: Public rangelands are important 
resources, particularly for the people of the 
western United States. Livestock grazing has 
been an integral part of the western landscape 
and lifestyle since the late 1800s. The livestock 
industry historically has played a major role in 
the economy of the West. BLM and the Forest 
Service are challenged with providing a stable 
resource base and a reasonable return for graz- 
ing livestock on federal lands, while recognizing 
the growing social and economic importance of 
other resources to local communities. Rangeland 
Reform '94 would not ultimately be successful if 
it causes unnecessary or unacceptable impacts on 
these communities." 

The social impacts to ranchers and ranching 
communities are analyzed in the draft EIS. 

15. Comment: Affected Environment, Social, Na- 
tional Attitudes: Results quoted in this section are 
from a very small fraction of the Nation at large 
and are therefore flawed. 

Response: Data for the national study of atti- 
tudes toward rangeland management (Steel and 
Brunson 1993) were gathered by contacting 
2,000 randomly selected households by tele- 
phone. The survey design and implementation 
followed the procedures outlined by Don 
Dillman in Mail and Telephone Surveys: The 
Total Design Method (Nov York: John Wiley, 
1978). The response rate for the national sample 
was 68 percent, and the authors wrote that many 
of those who refused to respond to the survey 
said they had no opinions about rangelands or 
rangeland management. Therefore, while the 
survey results may emphasize the views of those 
people most concerned about rangeland policy, 
the survey methods followed well-accepted 
procedures. 

16. Comment: Permits could be revoked for any 
reason. If federal land grazing permits are not 
leased, then the school trust lands would not be 



leased for grazing either. If that were to happen, 
every public school in the West, would suffer. 

Response: This is incorrect. While the reasons 
permits could be cancelled would be broadened, 
permits would still be cancelled only under 
limited circumstances. If a permit were cancel- 
led due to violations by the permittee, others 
may then apply for the permit. In cases where 
permits were cancelled for land management 
reasons, some state lands might remain unleased 
for grazing. 

17. Comment: The federal government and its 
agencies have an obligation to "community 
stability, " which is defined as a combination of 
custom, culture, and economic preservation. We 
have enclosed a copy of a list of the citations 
that protect stability as defined in the Forest 
Service use book, BLM handbook, Council of 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, Wild 
and Scenic Rivers Act, and Endangered Species 
Act. 

Response: Public rangelands are important 
resources, particularly for the people of the 
western United States. Livestock grazing has 
been an integral part of the western landscape 
and lifestyle since the late 1800s. The livestock 
industry historically has played a major role in 
the economy of the West. BLM and the Forest 
Service are challenged with providing a stable 
resource base and a reasonable return for graz- 
ing livestock on federal lands, while recognizing 
the growing social and economic importance of 
other resources to local communities. Rangeland 
Reform '94 would not ultimately be successful if 
it causes unnecessary or unacceptable impacts on 
these communities." 

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) 
which developed the NEPA regulations requires 
a discussion of possible conflicts between an 
agency's proposed action and the objectives of 
approved federal, regional, state, local, Indian 
tribe land use plans, as well as any actions the 
agency would take to lessen such conflicts. CEQ 
does not require conformance with such plans, 
as the commenter seems to imply. We acknowl- 
edge that there may be some conflicts between 
some aspects of the BLM-Forest Service Pre- 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 134 



ferred Alternative and some local, non-BLM, 
non-Forest Service land use plans in the West, 
and some county plans. Rangeland Reform '94, 
however, is a national policy-level document. It 
is not feasible or a reasonable expenditure of 
public funds to conduct site-specific comparisons 
between Rangeland Reform '94 management or 
fee actions and the hundreds or thousands of 
nonagency plans throughout the West. 

The citations from the BLM "handbook, " Forest 
Service "use book, " the Wild and Scenic Rivers 
Act, and the Endangered Species Act do not 
appear to apply to the proposals in this EIS. The 
BLM and Forest Service citations refer to agen- 
cies' respective planning regulations, not to EISs 
in general. Rangeland Reform '94 is not a land 
use plan, although implementing some aspects of 
BLM's proposals, particularly developing re- 
gional or state standards and guidelines, would 
require plan conformance reviews. In such 
cases, BLM would apply its planning regula- 
tions. With respect to the other two sets of 
citations, Rangeland Reform '94 does not pro- 
pose listing any wildlife species as threatened or 
endangered or designating any critical habitat or 
wild or scenic rivers. Conformance to procedural 
requirements for such designations is therefore 
outside the scope of this EIS. 

18. Comment: Page 29 of the Executive Summary, 
first paragraph, Social Conditions: "The cities 
have many residents that are concerned about 
the environment and use the public rangelands 
for recreational purposes. " Do these recreational 
pursuits include offroad vehicles and hunting or 
are you referring only to those special interest 
groups that enjoy hiking? You could have been 
more specific here. The statement is misleading. 

Response: The term recreational pursuits in- 
cludes all types of activities such as hiking, 
hunting, and off-road vehicle use. 

19. Comment: "Ranching is a way of life for many 
respondents. " This appears to be a main issue as 
it repeats for all alternatives. Should this be a 
consideration? Making military hardware and 
mining anthracite coal in northeast Pennsylvania 
were ways of life for generations too. The need 
for both stopped. Is it an obligation of the U.S. 



Treasury to maintain military production and 
anthracite mining to protect a way of life? The 
final EIS should discuss the national importance 
of maintaining the "ranching way of life" and its 
total impact on the U.S. Treasury (taxpayer). 

Response: The National Environmental Policy 
Act requires BLM and the Forest Service to 
assess the effects of their activities on the quality 
of the human environment and to avoid or 
minimize any possible adverse effects of agency 
actions upon the quality of the human environ- 
ment (CEQ, 40 CFR Part 1500). The social 
analysis was completed in compliance with this 
law. Discussing the national importance of 
maintaining the "ranching way of life" and its 
total impact on the U.S. Treasury is beyond the 
scope of this document; see Process, Response 



20. Comment: "Unprofitable ranches would be 
further stressed by reductions in federal forage 
and higher grazing fees. " (4-104) "Job losses at 
all fee levels would be insignificant at the 
westwide level. " (4-107) "Losses in family in- 
come would result in declines in the economic 
well-being of some permittees and their fami- 
lies. " (4-106) "Personal characteristics of self 
sufficiency, independence, hard work . . . deeply 
shaken for many permittees. " (4-107) All of these 
quotes are probably correct, but do they justify 
federal subsidies ? The EIS should develop these 
quotes in context of the national economy. 

Response: See Social, Response 19. Justification 
of federal subsidies is beyond the scope of this 
EIS; see Process, Response 8. 

21. Comment: Page 30. The statement "Emerging 
concerns regarding other noncommodity values, 
etc. " is unclear and subjective. What are 
"emerging concerns"? Whose are they? Are not 

past and present management practices and uses, 
in compliance with the multiple use concept, set 
out in the laws authorizing BLM and Forest 
Service to manage public grazing lands? 

Response: Emerging concerns are more fully 
described on page 3-80 of the draft EIS. This 
information is based on a report produced by 
George Stankey and Roger Clark of the Consor- 



135 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



tium for the Social Values of Natural Resources 
and supported by Oregon State University and 
the Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research 
Station. For the response concerning past and 
present management practices being in compli- 
ance with the multiple use concept, see Process, 
Response 10. 

22. Comment: What is the "national study of atti- 
tudes " quoted in paragraph 2 on page 30. Who 
conducted it? How were the questions phrased? 
How were the respondents selected? How big 
was the sample? What were the sampling confi- 
dence limits? Who sponsored the study? The 
results and broad general statements in this 
paragraph are unsupported, and their inclusion 
in this draft EIS is highly suspect. They should 
not be included in this draft. 

Response: The survey in question is more fully 
described on pages 3-80 and 3-81 of the draft 
EIS. Data for the national study of attitudes 
toward rangeland management (Steel and 
Branson 1993) were gathered by telephoning 
2,000 randomly selected households. The survey 
design and implementation followed the proce- 
dures outlined by Don Dillman in Mail and 
Telephone Surveys: The Total Design Method 
(New York: John Wiley 1978). The study was 
sponsored by the Utah Agricultural Experiment 
Station, Utah State University, with additional 
support from the Sustainable Forestry Program 
at Oregon State University, the Consortium for 
the Social Values of Natural Resources, and 
Washington State University- Vancouver. The 
study was published in the journal Rangelands in 
April 1994 under the title "National Public 
Attitudes toward federal rangeland manage- 
ment. " The response rate for the national sample 
was 68 percent, and the authors wrote that many 
of those who refused to respond to the survey 
said they had no opinions about rangelands or 
rangeland management. Therefore, while the 
survey results may emphasize the views of those 
people most concerned about rangeland policy, 
the survey methods followed well-accepted 
procedures. 

23 . Comment: The Department of the Interior, in 
cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, 
should reinforce its consideration of the tradi- 



tion, traditional belief, and culture of the Native 
American. Preserving and protecting the cultural 
resources on the public lands should be a prior- 
ity within Rangeland Reform '94. In addition, 
federal laws must be further reviewed to generate 
an effort to preserve and protect the traditional 
territory of Native Americans in this country. 

Response: As discussed on pages 3-53 through 
3-55 and page 5-2 of the draft EIS, BLM and the 
Forest Service recognize the importance of 
cultural resources and Native American lifeway 
values and have procedures in place to ensure 
proper consultation, coordination, and mitigation 
through the National Historic Preservation Act of 
1966 (NHPA), the American Indian Religious 
Freedom Act of 1978, and the Archeological 
Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA). 
Before authorizing surface disturbances at the 
regional or local level, BLM and the Forest 
Service would identify cultural properties eligible 
for inclusion in the National Register of Historic 
Places, consider the effects of the proposed 
undertakings through the consultation process in 
Section 106 of the NHPA, and evaluate proce- 
dures and conduct proper coordination to protect 
the religious freedom of Native Americans. In 
addition, BLM's development of state or re- 
gional standards and guidelines and continued 
implementation of Forest Service forest plan 
standards and guidelines would require more 
NEPA compliance at a regional or local level. 
Cultural resources and Native American issues 
would be addressed in those local or regional 
NEPA processes. 

The issue of preserving and protecting traditional 
territory of Native Americans is beyond the 
scope of the Rangeland Reform '94 EIS. The 
intent of this initiative is described on page 6 of 
the Executive Summary and pages 1-2 and 1-3 
of the draft EIS. The recommendation posed in 
this comment would appear to require legislative 
action. 

24. Comment: While BLM proposes to increase the 
recognition and acknowledges the importance of 
spiritual practices of Native Americans, it contin- 
ues to undermine the fragile economies of tribes 
and others living in remote areas of the West. It 
does so by rationalizing that the demise of west- 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 136 



em agriculture is due to reticent entrepreneurs 
and investors rather than to deliberate policies of 
politically powerful urban environmentalists. It 
appears that the Department of the Interior has 
accepted the policies of the minority without 
considering the severe impact on local econo- 
mies. In fact, only 40 percent of the public 
responding to a recent survey on rangeland 
management told the Secretary of the Interior 
that protection of local economies should not be 
a priority of the Department of the Interior. In 
this regard, the Tribe is concerned that the 
Department of the Interior has failed to uphold 
its trust obligation to the Ute Mountain Ute 
Indian Tribe. 

Response: BLM recognizes its trust responsibil- 
ity to Indian Tribes and the importance of the 
survival of local communities. Public rangelands 
are important resources, particularly for the 
people of the western United States. Livestock 
grazing has been an integral part of the western 
landscape and lifestyle since the late 1800s. The 
livestock industry historically has played a major 
role in the economy of the West. BLM and the 
Forest Service are challenged with providing a 
stable resource base and a reasonable return for 
grazing livestock on federal lands, while recog- 
nizing the growing social and economic impor- 
tance of other resources to local communities. 
Rangeland Reform '94 would not ultimately be 
successful if it causes unnecessary or unaccept- 
able impacts on these communities." 

The economic analysis in Chapter 4 in the draft 
EIS describes impacts to different sized opera- 
tions at different dependency levels. The analysis 
also states that the magnitude of the impacts 
would depend on each operation's particular 
circumstances, including dependency level, 
financial condition, and flexibility in finding and 
purchasing alternative forage sources. Marginal 
operations with high dependency levels could be 
adversely affected. Counties and municipalities 
with many marginal, highly dependent livestock 
operations could also experience adverse im- 
pacts. See also Local Communities, Response 1 . 

Rangeland Reform '94 is a policy-level docu- 
ment. Effects to specific areas or groups from 
implementing standards and guidelines would be 



addressed in later planning phases; see Process, 
Response 10. In addition, monitoring would be 
initiated as the fee is phased in; monitoring can 
be developed to study the effects of the fee 
increases on specific groups. 

25. Comment: Under the Department's Proposed 
Action, the rich get richer and the poor get 
poorer. Thus, cattle grazing income is projected 
to decline, and at the same time, "the social 
well-being of recreationists and environmentalists 
would improve. " Sadly, this equation would 
result in additional suffering and despair on the 
part of rural westerners, including, of course, 
Indian tribes to whom the Secretary of the Inte- 
rior owes a unique trust obligation. This fidu- 
ciary duty includes the encouragement of eco- 
nomic self-sufficiency and self-determination. An 
important economic development of this and 
many other tribes and their individual tribal 
members is the operation of cattle enterprises. 

Response: See preceding Response. 

26. Comment: It is my understanding that the BLM 
and the Bureau of Indian Affairs were to conduct 
a study from 1942 through 1955 to determine 
individual /family based occupancy rights of the 
Navajo Indians in this area; however, it was 
never completed. Therefore, the proposed graz- 
ing fee increases should not be imposed upon 
members of the Navajo Tribe for use of public 
lands until the study is completed. See U.S. v. 
Tsosie, 849 F. Supp. 768 (DNM 1994) and U.S. 
v. Dan, 470 U.S. 39 (1985). 

Many Navajo people living in this area depend 
on livestock grazing for a subsistence livelihood. 
Where I live, the people are the poorest of the 
poor in the United States. An increase in grazing 
fees would adversely affect them. Adding to their 
devastation as the proposed reform would do, is, 
of course, contradictory to one of the stated 
goals of Rangeland Reform '94. In fact, many 
people may be subjected to starvation like the 
people of Africa where the United States Govern- 
ment is currently sending millions of dollars 
worth of aid. The BLM should be more logical 
or at least sensitive to the needs of the Navajo 
people and should complete said study [an 
individual/family based occupancy study] before 



137 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



imposing the increase in grazing fees. A better or 
more respectful approach in handling the pro- 
posed range reform is the government-to-govern- 
ment route mandated by President Clinton's 
Memorandum dated April 29, 1994. 

Response: The Navajo Occupancy Issue was 
resolved in 1992 with the completion of Phase 
1&2 of the Navajo Land Exchange. These 
formally public lands became Indian Trust Lands 
administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 
Grazing fees by the federal government do not 
apply to these lands. 

27. Comment: The Navajo Nation government leases 
lands including federal lands, and many individ- 
ual members of the Navajo Nation pay grazing 
fees on lands including federal lands in the so- 
called "Checkerboard Area" of Navajoland. 
Much of the "Checkerboard Area " is within the 
boundaries of Executive Order 709, which the 
Navajo Nation is currently contending in the 
U.S. Courts, extended the boundaries of the 
Navajo Reservation to enclose many of the 
sectors of public land that have been used for 
years by Navajo Indians for grazing of livestock. 
So, in addition to receiving isolated comments 
from individual departments of the Navajo Nation 
government, Rangeland Reform '94 should be 
handled formally between the federal government 
and the Navajo Nation government. BLM's 
requirement should be a duly enacted resolution 
of the Navajo Nation Council to show that the 
Navajo government has considered this matter 
and voted, either pro or con, on the issue of 
Rangeland Reform '94. 

Response: Even though this issue is pending in 
U.S. Courts, grazing fees are appropriate for 
public lands. Executive Order 709 (Pueblo 
Bonito Navajo Reservation Boundary Extension) 
was revoked by subsequent Executive Orders . 
It is appropriate that Rangeland Reform 94 as it 
applies to Navajo Grazing Issues be handled as 
a government to government issue. 

28. Comment: The draft EIS fails to conform to the 
Environmental Justice Executive Order that 
requires BLM and the Forest Service to assess 
and avoid greater impacts of regulatory changes 
on minorities. The draft EIS erroneously assumes 



that the public land rancher is white and male. 
National census data reveal that a significant 
proportion of public land ranches are owned by 
racial and ethnic minorities as well as women. 
The draft EIS does not assess the impacts of 
Rangeland Reform '94 on women-owned or 
minority-owned businesses. In fact, the draft EIS 
does not even acknowledge that ranches are 
owned by women or minorities, a fact that is 
evident from even a cursory analysis of the 
national agricultural census data. (Obermiller, 
1987 Census of Agriculture Minorities in Ranch- 
ing Analysis, August 11, 1994) 

Census data show that Rangeland Reform '94 
would have disparate and significant impacts on 
minorities and women. The draft EIS does not 
identify the social relationships in rural commu- 
nities, the number of people affected, or the 
number of minorities affected. The draft EIS does 
not identify women-owned or minority businesses 
affected. This situation ignores the fact that many 
women and ethnic and racial minorities own 
public land ranches and would be affected by 
Rangeland Reform '94. 

Minority group ownership and/or management of 
western beef cattle operations is concentrated in 
two states: California and New Mexico. Else- 
where, female participation is relatively high in 
Oregon, Montana, Colorado, and Washington; 
Hispanic participation is high in Colorado; and 
other minorities are relatively abundant in 
Arizona, Colorado, Montana, and South Dakota. 
These ranch owners probably have less access to 
financial markets and would be more immedi- 
ately affected by Rangeland Reform '94. Never- 
theless, the draft EIS and the regulatory analyses 
are completely silent on this significant impact. 

Response: Executive Order 12898 was issued on 
February 11, 1994. Guidance for carrying out 
this order is still being developed by BLM. 

In addition to the information described in 
Chapter 3 of the draft EIS, Affected Environ- 
ment, the following new language has been 
added to page 3-75: "Overall in the 11 western 
states, 8.3 percent of the beef cattle operations 
are female owned or managed. California has the 
highest number and proportion of female owned 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 138 



or managed operations. Nearly 7 percent of the 
beef cattle operations in the 1 1 western states are 
minority owned or operated. New Mexico has, 
by far, the largest number and proportion of 
these operations. Arizona, California, and Colo- 
rado also have high numbers and proportions of 
minority owned or operated beef cattle opera- 
tions." This addition responds to the concern 
raised by this comment. 

The economic analysis in Chapter 4 of the draft 
EIS describes impacts to different sized opera- 
tions at different dependency levels. It also states 
that the magnitude of the impacts would depend 
on each operation's particular circumstances 
including dependency level, financial condition, 
flexibility in finding and purchasing alternative 
forage sources, etc. Marginal operations with 
high dependency levels could be adversely 
affected. Also see Local Communities, Response 
1. 

Monitoring will be initiated as the fee is phased 
in; monitoring can be developed to study the 
effects of the fee increases on specific groups. 

29. Comment: Page 2-55, Social Conditions: The No 
Grazing alternative indicates that most people in 
the West and across the county "might " feel that 
this alternative is too restrictive. The sur- 
veys/polls that were conducted to determine what 
most people might feel need to be identified. 

Response: This information is based on the 
surveys described in Chapter 3 of the draft EIS, 
pages 3-80 and 3-81. The citations for these 
surveys are located under Steel and Branson 
1993 and Dalecki and Coughenour 1992. 

30. Comment: The draft EIS must acknowledge the 
important social impacts that would result if 
livestock grazing is significantly reduced. The 
draft EIS fails to perform any kind of social 
impact analysis. As a result, the draft EIS does 
not consider the sociological implications of 
Rangeland Reform '94. In contrast, sociologists 
have identified numerous significant social 
impacts including the decline of the small family 
ranch operations, the disproportionate impacts 
on women and minority-owned ranch operations, 
the impacts on rural communities, and the loss of 



social and economic diversity in the western 
states. Rangeland Reform '94 contradicts virtu- 
ally every public policy stated by this Administra- 
tion and would lead to a significant disaffection 
in the western United States, where agriculture 
plays an important role. 

The findings reported in the draft EIS are as 
flawed methodologically as they are rhetorically, 
producing both incomplete and inaccurate por- 
trayal of the women and men who come from 
widely disparate ethnic and cultural backgrounds 
to embody ranchfolk culture and rural communi- 
ties. Valid cultural studies can only occur lo- 
cally, not nationally. Any assessment of ranching 
customs and cultures which presumes to address 
such issues on a westwide scale, or even to 
assume parallels from one locale to another 
without valid and intensive cultural analysis is, 
from its inception, markedly flawed. Valid cul- 
tural studies can only occur locally, not nation- 
ally. 

The draft EIS completely ignores the impacts of 
Rangeland Reform '94 on communities members ' 
sense of stability and well-being. Surveys done 
by rural sociologists are revealing. When asked, 
"What would you do if you stop ranching?," 
"What else could you be happy doing ?, " "Where 
would you live?, " most ranchers are unable to 
respond. While many ranch owners have sub- 
stantial experience, they may lack the training or 
education to work in another field. A range 
science degree would not prepare someone to be 
a mine foreman or construction supervisor, even 
assuming that such work was available. 

Response: The social impact analysis in the 
draft EIS presents a general discussion of the 
impacts to permittees, three example communi- 
ties, and other publics such as environmentalists 
and recreationists. Effects to rancher lifestyle, 
community stability, relationships among com- 
munity members, and the perceptions of the 
affected groups and individuals are among the 
topics addressed. The reader needs to examine 
both the Impacts Common to All Alternatives 
and the alternative-specific analyses to fully 
understand the impacts being described. The 
methods used in this analysis are based on 
BLM's Guide to Social Assessment (1982). The 



139 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



methods were adapted for the broader scope of 
this EIS. 

Rangeland Reform '94 is a policy level docu- 
ment; the analysis was not designed to cover 
specific localities, although some specific sites 
were used as examples. Some issues described in 
the comment, such as the decline of small family 
ranch operations and the loss of social and 
economic diversity in the West, while acknowl- 
edged, are largely beyond the scope of the EIS; 
see Process, Response 8. The effects to minority 
and female owned ranch operations are discussed 
in Social, Response 28. 

31. Comment: The draft EIS summarized the opin- 
ions of ranchers and then a public opinion poll 
of nonwestern residents on Rangeland Reform 

94. The draft EIS does not explain how the poll 
was developed, what questions were asked, nor 
what the actual responses were. Regardless, a 
summary of public opinion has no place in a 
social impact analysis. The objective is to assess 
the local and regional community impacts, not 
how the American public might answer in re- 
sponse to a carefully crafted question. 

Response: Discussions of attitudes do belong in 
social impact analysis. According to Stan 
Albrecht and James Thompson in "The Place of 
Attitudes and Perceptions in Social Impact 
Analysis" {Society and Natural Resources, Vol 
1, 1988), "Socio-psychological variables, includ- 
ing attitudes, beliefs, values, and opinions, 
occupy a central place in emerging social impact 
assessment methodologies." See also Social, 
Response 30. For more information on the 
survey on public attitudes toward rangeland 
management, see Social, Response 22. 

32. Comment: First, the draft EIS conclusion, that 
"most western ranchers " do not have federal 
grazing permits and would not be affected by an 
increase in grazing fees, is suspect since the 
survey was based on Montana ranchers. The 
draft EIS states, on another page, that "average 
dependency of permittees on federal forage is 
highest in Arizona and lowest in Montana. " 
(Emphasis added.) Accordingly, the draft EIS has 
taken the results of a survey from a state with the 
lowest dependency on grazing permits to make 



conclusions about the percentage of "western 
ranchers " who have federal grazing permits and 
about the effect on "most western ranchers " by 
an increase in grazing fees. 

Needless to say, the conclusion that "most west- 
ern ranchers " would not be affected by an in- 
crease in grazing fees is not supported by the 
survey relied on by the draft EIS. Nor can the 
draft EIS possibly consider adequately the im- 
pacts of the proposed action of the "social 
conditions " of the western states based on the 
survey of Montana ranchers and farmers. If the 
draft EIS intends to make such statements, it 
should base them on surveys that are more fairly 
representative of the "western ranchers. " 

Response: The comment refers to a study by 
Saltiel referenced in the draft EIS. A key point 
of Saltiel's survey is that there are differences in 
how permittees and nonpermittees view the 
effects of grazing fee increases on their opera- 
tions. 

In addition, it is helpful to note that in the 11 
western states, beef producers with federal 
permits make up 22 percent of all cattle produc- 
ers. In the same area, sheep producers with 
federal permits make up 19 percent of all sheep 
producers. 



water Rights 



1 . Comment: Under the No Grazing and Environ- 
mental Enhancement alternatives, what happens 
to existing water rights no longer needed for 
livestock grazing? Could water lost to grazing 
use be available for other valid uses ? 

Response: Water no longer used for livestock 
grazing could be made available for other valid 
uses on public land. If not needed for such 
existing uses, it would be available for reappro- 
priation under state law. 

2. Comment: Water developments should be 
encouraged to improve distribution of livestock 
away from riparian areas. 

Response: The present management of riparian 
areas on public land is guided by BLM's Ripar- 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 140 



ian Initiative for the 90s, which states (goal #2) 
that BLM would protect riparian-wetlands 
through proper land management and by avoid- 
ing negative impacts. The placement of water 
away from riparian areas was analyzed in the 
draft EIS. It is standard practice by the BLM 
and Forest Service to review proposed water 
developments and implement design criteria to 
avoid adverse effects to riparian areas. 

3 . Comment: Unless the permittee can control use 
and management of the water resources on the 
allotment, livestock performance would suffer, 
reducing the permittee 's repayment capacity and 
collateral value. 

Response: A federal agency holding future 
water rights on a grazing allotment would not 
adversely affect livestock performance. This has 
always been Forest Service policy, and it has not 
affected livestock performance. Since existing 
water rights held by BLM permittees would not 
be affected, this would not reduce the permit- 
tee's repayment capacity and collateral value. On 
water development projects where the permittee 
has accepted maintenance responsibility, the 
permittee would be responsible to make sure that 
water is available to their livestock. The Forest 
Service would continue its existing water rights 
policy. 

Public Participation 

1. Comment: The relevance of the Experimental 
Stewardship Program to resource advisory 
councils needs to be assessed. 

Response: The Public Rangelands Improvement 
Act (Public Law 95-514) authorizes the Secretar- 
ies to develop an experimental stewardship 
program to improve the rangelands. The Experi- 
mental Stewardship Program in Challis, Idaho; 
Dillon, Montana; and Modoc/Washoe, Califor- 
nia/Nevada would continue under the current 
structure. These programs were developed to 
evaluate innovative techniques using collabora- 
tive resource management. Many of the propos- 
als for resource advisory councils came from 
Experimental Stewardship and Coordinated 
Resource Management programs. These pro- 
grams were the pathfinders for many new ideas 



in resource management and would continue to 
be part of the public participation process. 

Comment: Better avenues exist for voicing the 
opinions and concerns of the public. Multiple 
resource advisory councils are therefore not 
needed. 

Response: FLPMA authorizes the establishment 
of advisory councils to advise the Secretary of 
the Department of the Interior. These councils 
are representative of the various major citizens' 
interests in a particular area. Additionally, the 
Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that 
Federal agencies obtain advice and input through 
such open and diverse committees. An advisory 
committee provides a measure of involving a 
broad and diverse public in gathering advice on 
public land management issues. In addition to 
advisory councils, the BLM would use public 
meetings, one-on-one sessions, written communi- 
cations, and workshops. 

Comment: Explain how multiple resource advi- 
sory councils would address the monitoring of 
rangeland health/conditions. 

Response: Resource advisory councils would 
provide advice on rangeland management issues 
to BLM. In that capacity, they would be ex- 
pected to help identify concepts and techniques 
to improve management of rangelands. They 
would provide advice that would help BLM 
refine methods, accomplish monitoring tasks, 
evaluate results, and meet landscape management 
goals. 

Comment: Many comments were received re- 
garding the composition of multiple resource 
advisory councils. Some suggested that these 
councils should be larger or smaller than the 
proposed 15 members. Some were concerned that 
local community or livestock industry interests 
would dominate the councils. Others felt that the 
industry would have a minor or perhaps negligi- 
ble role on the councils. Yet others wanted to 
ensure that specific public land user groups 
would be included or excluded in most or all 
instances. Some commenters were concerned 
about the potential for direct economic conflicts 
for certain types of members. Finally, some 



141 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



suggested that members should or should not be 
affiliated with existing organizations with a 
known interest or policies regarding public land 
management. 

Response: The advisory council component of 
the proposed rule was developed to be consistent 
with the Federal Land Policy and Management 
Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 
and to achieve a broad and balanced membership 
composition that would include representation 
from interested parties representing diverse 
perspectives. The Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act requires councils to be com- 
prised of 10 to 15 members. The proposed 
membership structure is designed to assure that 
no single interest group or person would domi- 
nate another group or person on the council. The 
overall intent is to achieve an effective resource 
advisory council with a fair distribution of 
representation that includes the perspectives 
reflective of the general public. The need to 
avoid a conflict of interest applies to all mem- 
bers, and no member may vote on issues on 
which she or he has a conflict of interest. 

5 . Comment: A number of comments suggested that 
the nomination process for membership on the 
multiple resource advisory councils should be 
changed. Suggestions included the following: all 
members should be elected to their positions; all 
or some members should be appointed by the 
governor of the involved state (s); all or some 
members should be appointed by local elected 
representatives; consideration should be limited 
to local citizens selected by local citizenry; the 
public should be included in the nomination 
process; and the nomination process is too 
subjective. 

Response: The foundation of the Preferred 
Alternative for advisory councils is a public call 
for nominations. In making appointments, the 
Secretary would consider nominations made by 
the governors and nominations received from the 
public call for nominations. The nomination 
process is designed to find qualified and inter- 
ested persons, in a manner that would not hinder 
individuals from coming forward to show their 
desire to serve. All of the nominations would be 
forwarded to the Secretary of the Department of 



the Interior for consideration. The nominations 
received would be considered along with those 
recommended by the governors. The nominees 
cannot be elected to a council under the Federal 
Land Policy and Management Act and the 
Federal Advisory Committee Act; they must be 
appointed by the Secretary of the Department of 
the Interior. Regardless of how a nominee is 
identified, the Secretary would have the respon- 
sibility to make the final selection. 

6. Comment: The geographic areas being proposed 
for multiple resource advisory councils are too 
small to ensure an appropriate diversity and 
balance of public land interests. 

Response: The Preferred Alternative allows 
flexibility on area of jurisdiction. The agency 
recognizes that the area of jurisdiction of the 
resource advisory council (RAC) would depend 
on the landscapes, area ecology, community, and 
administrative requirements. Although districts 
are administratively determined, they have been 
the primary unit of focus for environmental 
impact statements. One question that must be 
decided is whether to manage for large environ- 
ments that more resemble the functionality of an 
ecosystem, or to divide the system into smaller, 
more understandable management units, like a 
district. It is expected that the RACs would not 
be static and that they would probably evolve to 
more of an ecosystem entity as they mature. 

7. Comment: Multiple Use Advisory Councils 
(MRACs), and/or its subcommittees (technical 
review teams and rangeland resource teams) 
should only be undertaken on a trial, temporary, 
and/or experimental basis. 

Response: The BLM has had experience in the 
use of advisory groups and this proposal builds 
on that experience. The proposed councils and 
their component parts would be implemented 
based upon the specific resource and public 
needs. The chartering of the councils would 
reflect these needs and would determine how 
each council would operate and provide recom- 
mendations on resource issues. The agency is 
committed to the success of the resource advi- 
sory councils (RACs) which must be 
reauthorized every two years and any subcom- 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 142 



mittees. These committees must be reauthorized 
every two years. Therefore, the effectiveness of 
the council would be periodically assessed and 
modifications would be made to ensure the 
council's effectiveness at assisting in proper 
management of the rangelands. 

8. Comment: The establishment of the standards 
and guidelines by the advisory councils would be 
too much for them to handle, so there should be 
standards and guideline boards established to 
effectively deal with this matter. The MRACs 
should address other resources and surrounding 
issues besides grazing. 

Response: Communication with the agency and 
among resource advisory councils (RACs) is an 
important element of the proposal that is in- 
tended to provide a mechanism for ensuring that 
the standards and guidelines will reflect the 
continuum of resources and their uses across 
jurisdictional boundaries. Although their devel- 
opment would not be easy, the agency would 
benefit from RAC involvement. The public in 
general will also have an opportunity to partici- 
pate in the development of standard and guide- 
lines. Active public involvement with the devel- 
opment of standards and guidelines would result 
in greater acceptance and support for those 
standards and guidelines. As a result it is ex- 
pected that rangelands would improve faster. 

9. Comment: Public rangeland users requested that 
interested parties not have input to decisions 
regarding grazing permits and leases. Others 
stated that input from the general public should 
be halted at some point in the permitting pro- 
cess. 

Response: Many administrative, management, 
permitting, monitoring, compliance, and legal 
processes and actions are involved with livestock 
grazing on public land. Some procedures would 
not be open for public input, such as actions that 
were within conditions of permits, transferring 
preference, approving applicant qualifications, 
and assigning nonuse. The public would have the 
opportunity to participate in planning and man- 
agement aspects of all public land uses. This 
involvement would be likely to affect grazing 
leases and permits. Members of the public could 
appeal certain rangeland management decisions. 



BLM and the Forest Service believe that public 
input and involvement would help ensure good 
land management decisions. Public input, how- 
ever, would not replace the agencies' 
decisionmaking authority and responsibility. 

Appeals 

1. Comment: Several commenters took issue with 
the BLM appeal process under the Preferred 
Alternative, particularly immediate implementa- 
tion provisions. 

Response: The proposed rule brings BLM 
grazing regulations in line with departmental 
appeals policy under Title 43 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations, Part 4, Subpart B. Any 
person whose interest is adversely affected by a 
decision of the authorized officer would have full 
appeal rights. The appellant could also file a 
petition for stay of the decision while final 
determinations on appeal are being considered. 
Except in situations where immediate action is 
need for resource protection, no decisions would 
be effective until after the 30-day appeal period. 
If a petition for stay is filed along with the 
appeal, the decision would be temporarily stayed 
for up to 45 more days while the Office of 
Hearings and Appeals makes a determination on 
the petition. If a stay is granted, it would sus- 
pend the effect of the decision until final disposi- 
tion of the appeal. 

2. Comment: The review process should have a 
period of 90 days. The agency should have a 
time limit on appeals resolution. 

Response: The appeal process in the Preferred 
Alternative keeps the timeframe of 30 days to 
appeal a final decision. The proposal adds an 
additional provision for petitioning a stay within 
the same 30 days, which allows the review of 
the petition for a stay to extend for 45 days from 
the end of the appeal period. Normally, under 
current provisions (which are not affected by the 
Preferred Alternative) a final grazing decision 
would be preceded by a proposed decision that 
has a protest period of 15 days. Consequently, a 
typical decision could take at least 90 days 
before a decision is implemented, even if no stay 
of the appeal were to be granted. 



143 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



The timeframe to issue a decision on an appeal 
would not be limited. The appeal review and the 
following decision would be comprehensive and 
complete. Setting a period by which a decision 
must be made on an appeal could cause decisions 
to be rendered without proper investigation and 
counsel. 

3 . Comment: The present process of the implemen- 
tation and appeal of decisions should remain the 
same, since the resources have not been harmed 
by the present process and the appellant's rights 
are not violated. 

Response: The Preferred Alternative provides 
that management decisions can be carried out in 
a timely fashion without removing the appeal 
process. Decisions issued for improvement of the 
resources would become effective within up to 
75 days from issuance. The rangeland can begin 
to improve without delay. Under the Preferred 
Alternative, the appellant must now file a peti- 
tion for a stay, rather than have an automatic 
stay upon filing an appeal. The requirement to 
petition for a stay would eliminate frivolous 
appeals from delaying decision implementation. 
Such delays often last several years. If the 
petitioner can show relative harm by the deci- 
sion, a stay could be granted, which would stop 
the action until the appeal has been heard and a 
decision rendered by the administrative law 
judge. 

Permits and Leases 

1 . Comment: Some level of concern was expressed 
about the BLM redefining the term "grazing 
preference" and replacing it with "permitted 
use ". 

Response: Grazing preference was redefined to 
conform more closely with the language in 
Section 3 of the Taylor Grazing Act. Grazing 
preference is now defined as the grazing privi- 
leges that are assigned to particular base prop- 
erty. The proposed rule establishes that permit- 
ted use is the amount of forage in an allotment 
allocated for livestock grazing under the guid- 
ance of a land use plan. Permitted use is granted 
to holders of grazing preference. 



2. Comment: Various comments were received on 
suspended use: The continuation of suspended 
nonuse is a burden to BLM. Suspended nonuse is 
important to ranch value. The term should be 
better defined. Suspended nonuse should be 
eliminated. 

Response: The concept of suspended nonuse has 
been retained, even though the term "suspended 
nonuse" has been replaced with the term "sus- 
pended use. " The present suspended use would 
continue to be recognized and have a priority for 
additional grazing use within the allotment. 
Suspended use provides an important accounting 
of past grazing use for the ranching community 
and is an insignificant administrative workload to 
the agency; therefore, continuing its use is more 
beneficial than eliminating its use. 

3 . Comment: Longer term permits would improve 
stewardship. Shorter tenure would make it easier 
to remove poor management and make it clearer 
that the permit is a privilege and not a right. 

Response: The Taylor Grazing Act and Federal 
Land Policy and Management Act provide for 
term permits/leases for a period of generally not 
more than 10 years with shorter periods allowed 
to meet specific management needs. Although 
shorter permit tenure was considered at the time 
of scoping of the EIS, the agencies determined 
that except in limited situations reduced tenure 
would not contribute to the goals of improved 
rangeland health, and therefore, was not in- 
cluded in the proposed rule. 

4. Comment: A number of comments were submit- 
ted on the availability and allocation of addi- 
tional forage; temporary permits should not be 
converted to grazing preference, additional 
forage allocation should be based on the permit- 
tee 's /lessee 's contribution, and permittees and 
lessees must have met incentive and improvement 
guidelines for additional permitted use after 
other agency 's approval. 

Response: Where additional forage is tempo- 
rarily available, it may be apportioned on a 
nonrenewable basis and would not be converted 
to permanent status. Often, prior to granting an 
increase permitted use, temporary nonrenewable 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 144 



grazing is authorized in order to assess the 
impacts of increased levels of grazing use. If 
BLM evaluation of monitoring data reveals that 
increased grazing use is compatible with land use 
plan objectives, the temporary nonrenewable 
animal unit months (AUMs) may be converted to 
renewable permitted use. 

Additional forage available for livestock grazing 
on a sustained yield basis is first apportioned to 
permittees or lessees on an allotment in satisfac- 
tion of any suspended permitted use. The second 
priority for additional forage is to permittees or 
lessees in proportion to their stewardship efforts 
which resulted in increased forage production. 

The Forest Service would not issue temporary 
permits with the intention of "converting" them 
to term permits at some future time. However, 
if unused forage was identified in an allotment, 
an outcome of a rangeland project decision 
process could be a decision to increase permitted 
use. The authorized officer would determine 
which entity would be authorized this use. 
Normally, this would be allocated to the permit- 
tee^) currently holding a term permit in that 
allotment. 

5. Comment: Permit disqualification provisions 
drew several comments which included that 
permit denial would have an adverse impact on 
ranch financing, the disqualification provision 
would encourage better stewardship, and other 
users should also be disqualified from using the 
public lands for their violations. 

Response: One of the primary objectives of the 
disqualification provisions is to encourage good 
stewardship and general compliance with appli- 
cable rules and regulations. Administrative 
processes, like those that affect the term permit 
or lease, could have an impact on particular 
ranch financing. The factor was included as a 
component in the economic analysis in the draft 
EIS. If an applicant or affiliate is not in substan- 
tial compliance with an existing federal grazing 
permit or lease for which renewal is sought, it 
could negatively impact their ability to obtain 
financing in that the noncompliance might affect 
the certainty of the renewal. 



Although violation of regulations related to 
grazing use of the public lands may result in 
cancellation or suspension of grazing privileges 
and subsequent disqualification, these types of 
sanctions are not applicable to other users of the 
public lands. 

Lease and Pasturing 
Agreements 

1. Comment: We received many comments both 
supportive and critical of the BLM' s proposed 
base property lease surcharge and the pasturing 
agreement surcharge. Surcharges on third party 
leases on BLM-administered lands were of major 
concern for many commenters. Generally speak- 
ing, the comments cover the following areas: 
Since the fee represents fair market value, there 
is no need to have a surcharge; The permittee is 
entitled to profit from subleasing; A surcharge 
should not be assessed on base property lease; 
There should be a 50 percent surcharge on both 
arrangements; The authorized officer has too 
much discretion in subleasing; Livestock associa- 
tions would be susceptible to surcharges; The 
Forest Service and BLM should have the same 
rules; The surcharge amount is punitive; and 
Subleasing should be illegal so others can have 
a shot at a permit. 

Response: The Preferred Alternative for grazing 
represents a fair return to the government, and is 
not fair market value. The Preferred Alternative 
in the final EIS takes into account the practical 
needs of Western ranching practices, recognizing 
subleasing 's importance as an operational tool 
and an avenue for entering the business. Private 
party leases of the base property tied to a federal 
permit or lease would be allowed without a 
surcharge, but may not be issued for a period of 
less than three years. A pasturing agreement 
without leasing the base property would continue 
to be subject to a surcharge based upon a new 
calculation. The surcharge for such a pasturing 
agreement would be a percentage of the differ- 
ence between the state private land lease rate (as 
reported by the National Agricultural Statistical 
Service) and the federal grazing fee. These 
comments are considered in the draft EIS. 
Changes were made in the Preferred Alternative 
based on public comment, see Chapter 2. 



145 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



2. Comment: Subleasing should not be allowed. 

Response: The Forest Service does not allow 
permits to be leased; the permittee must own all 
permitted livestock and the designated base 
property in order to retain permitted grazing 
privileges. 

The BLM has and would continue to allow third 
party leases involving BLM grazing permits and 
leases. This practice is long- standing, and 
provides benefits to both the rancher and the 
agency. The practice allows permittees and 
lessees advanced in age or in poor health to 
retain the integrity of the ranching unit until it 
can be transferred to their families. The practice 
provides a practical method for new individuals 
to enter the business in an incremental manner 
that otherwise may not be possible. Most of the 
western states allow subleasing for the same 
reasons. By allowing the practice, the BLM 
encounters fewer permittee and lessee turn- 
overs, lessening workload and improving long 
term stability of the rangelands. 



Authorizing use 



1. Comment: A short rest to recover the range 
would be better than a reduction until desired 
conditions are met. 

Response: The permittee could apply to the 
agencies for temporary nonuse, nonuse for 
resource protection or conservation use to vital- 
ize the range until desired conditions are met. 
Alternately, the removal of livestock for a 
season or period of a season is a tool that can be 
applied by modifying or suspending a permit 
through a decision or agreement. The absence of 
livestock or reduced stocking can accelerate the 
improvement of rangelands. The amount, dura- 
tion, and timing of livestock reduction would be 
determined by the authorized officer according to 
the specific needs of the site-specific resources. 

2. Comment: Increases in permitted use should be 
granted when warranted. Monitoring data should 
be used to adjust use. Five years of monitoring 
data should be used. BLM has too much author- 
ity to change terms and conditions of permits 



when grazing use is not meeting the land use 
plan. 

Response: The BLM authorized officer would 
use information supported by monitoring, field 
observations, ecological site inventory, or other 
acceptable data. The period of monitoring should 
depend upon the kinds of resources and the 
management objectives established and not on a 
set requirement for monitoring for five years. 
The assessment of management success and the 
need to modify grazing is a dynamic process that 
must be based upon the needs of each site. 
Consequently, the agency manager would have 
to use discretion in determining when and where 
modifications of permitted use are suitable. As 
provided in the Preferred Alternative, the autho- 
rized officer would take prompt action to change 
grazing practices that cause resource deteriora- 
tion. 

3 . Comment: Sheep conversion should be changed 
to 7 sheep per animal unit, and the conversion of 
a sheep to cattle permit should require a 30 
percent reduction. 

Response: In the Federal Register Notice pub- 
lished on August 4, 1994, which extended the 
comment period, BLM requested comments on 
the 7:1 sheep to cattle conversion for billing 
purposes. After a review of public comments 
and the paper by the K.M. Havstad (1994), 
Agricultural Research Service, Animal Unit 
Equivalents: An Examination of the Sheep to 
Cattle Ratio for Stocking Rangelands, the data 
indicates that the present 5:1 sheep to cattle 
conversion ratio would continue to facilitate 
efficient permit administration until more com- 
prehensive and conclusive data are available to 
base more accurate livestock conversion ratios. 
Therefore, no increases or reductions would be 
appropriate due to a different conversion ratio at 
this time. 

4. Comment: Free use should be only for scientific 
purposes. 

Response: Free use is infrequently authorized. 
However, there are circumstances such as graz- 
ing as a means of weed control, where free use 
for other than scientific purposes is justified. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 146 



Free use may also be authorized by the BLM for 
residents adjacent to the public lands who de- 
pend upon these public lands to support their 
livestock to work or produce products that they 
or their family use directly and exclusively. This 
form of free use is extremely rare and results in 
negligible environmental effects. The Forest 
Service regulations provide that the authorized 
officer may issue temporary permits free of 
charge where the primary objective is managing 
vegetation, and not for providing forage. 

The Preferred Alternative specifically provides 
that the authorized officer may authorize grazing 
free use for the control of noxious weeds, as 
well as when grazing is for scientific purposes. 
It is recognized that when grazing is being used 
strictly as a tool for resource manipulation or 
scientific studies that the objective of the grazing 
is not for the consumption of forage, but for 
other purposes that provide benefits to public 
rangelands. This type of free use can be an 
extremely valuable tool for the protection and 
rehabilitation of rangeland resources. 

5. Comment: The Forest Service does not have a 
widespread unauthorized use problem, so why is 
it changing its unauthorized use procedures and 
penalties (draft EIS, page 4-40) ? 

Response: Unauthorized use related to grazing 
permits does occur on National Forest System 
lands. Even though this problem is not wide- 
spread, in localized areas the problem needs to 
be addressed. Additionally, a minority of 
permittees are repeat offenders. The Forest 
Service believes that increased penalties for 
willful offenses will deter unauthorized use. 
Additionally, this change makes Forest Service 
procedures more consistent with the procedures 
of BLM. 

Conservation use 

1 . Comment: As Holistic Management implies, too 
much "rest " (over-rest) is a cause for declining 
rangeland. Ten years of nonuse may lead to 
more severe range fires, more noxious weeds, 
loss of county tax dollars, etc. The draft EIS 
does not clearly explain the allowance for long- 
term nonuse and the concept could be subverted 



and have long term economic consequences. 

Response: We disagree. This was analyzed in 
the draft EIS on pages 2-15 and 4-40. Neither 
conservation use nor nonuse for resource protec- 
tion have to be for 10 years. Since conservation 
use or nonuse for resource protection would be 
approved only where it is consistent with re- 
source condition objectives of the land use plan, 
it is not expected that conservation use would be 
approved on a continuing basis nor would it be 
approved to continue when adverse impacts are 
detected. Once resource condition goals were 
met, the area would not be eligible for conserva- 
tion use. Long-term economic consequences of 
conservation use authorizations are not expected 
to be significant. 

2. Comment: The impact of nonuse was not ad- 
dressed in the draft EIS. 

Response: Nonuse for personal convenience, 
nonuse for resource protection, and conservation 
use mainly affect the agencies' administrative 
efficiencies. Temporary nonuse has been autho- 
rized on an annual basis, and the Preferred 
Alternative would allow this practice to continue 
with the expectation that the level of nonuse 
would remain approximately the same. Nonuse 
for personal convenience is not designed as a 
resource tool, but as a tool to help 
permittees/lessees manage their operations, and 
it consequently has little overall effect on the 
environment. Nonuse for resource protection (a 
Forest Service term) and conservation use (a 
BLM term) are designed to expedite improve- 
ment or protection of the environment, and not 
to replace proper management. 

Forest service Planning 

1 . Comment: There is a conflict between the public 
involvement requirements of the Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), the 
National Forest Management Act (NFMA), and 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 
Section 402(d) of FLPMA specifically lists "les- 
sees, permittees, landowners involved, district 
grazing advisory boards, and any State or States 
having lands within the area " as the parties with 
whom the Forest Service must work in "careful 



147 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



and considered consultation, cooperation, and 
coordination " in the development of an allotment 
management plan (AMP). NFMA and NEPA 
require broad public participation in the develop- 
ment of plans for units of the National Forest 
System. FLPMA prevails over NFMA and NEPA 
in this case. AMPs should be prepared only with 
the input from the parties expressly identified in 
FLPMA and are exempt from any review or 
involvement by other members of the general 
public. The definition of AMP in the final rule 
should be changed to reflect this. 

Response: One of the fundamental rules of 
statutory interpretation is that when more than 
one statute applies to a specific matter, each 
statute must be interpreted so that it is given full 
effect if at all possible. Repeals or exemptions of 
a statute by implication are disfavored. The 
government's reasonable interpretation of its 
statutory authority is entitled to deference. 

FLPMA, NFMA, and NEPA can be reconciled 
with regard to the development of AMPs. 
FLPMA requires that certain parties must be 
given an opportunity to participate in the prepa- 
ration of an AMP. At the same time, it should 
be noted that FLPMA does not limit participa- 
tion to only those listed parties. NFMA and 
NEPA require broad public involvement in the 
land management planning process for National 
Forest System units. The current Forest Service 
policy provides that AMPs are prepared with the 
"careful and considered consultation, coopera- 
tion, and coordination" of the parties listed in 
Section 402(d) of FLPMA and that those AMPs 
are also subject to the public participation and 
involvement requirements of NFMA and NEPA. 
This policy is fully consistent with the provisions 
of FLPMA, NFMA, and NEPA. This same 
policy will continue in force with rangeland 
project decisions. No changes to the proposed 
rule are necessary. 

Comment: The Forest Service is treating live- 
stock grazing differently from other ongoing 
uses, such as campgrounds and facilities, hiking 
trails, utility rights-of-way, dams and municipal 
water reservoirs, and existing roads. Virtually 
none of these other ongoing forest activities have 
any, let alone adequate, NEPA documentation. 



Human use of the National Forests often has 
greater site-specific impacts than livestock graz- 
ing. The proposal to single out grazing as the 
only continuing use of the forests for such scru- 
tiny is arbitrary and capricious and not sup- 
ported by judicial precedent under NEPA policy. 

Response: Forest Service NEPA policy and 
procedures have established proposed actions 
that may be excluded from documentation in an 
EIS or environmental assessment (EA). These 
categories include repair and maintenance of 
administrative sites; repair and maintenance of 
roads, trails, and landline boundaries; and repair 
and maintenance of recreation sites and facilities. 
Authorization of livestock grazing is not compa- 
rable to ongoing maintenance of constructed 
facilities such as trails, campgrounds, utility 
corridors, dams, reservoirs, or roads. Authoriza- 
tion of all continuing and new permitted activi- 
ties on National Forest System lands follow 
Forest Service NEPA policy and procedures. 

3 . Comment: The proposed rules will change the 
management direction of the Forest Service from 
"authorized multiple use" under the Multiple 
Use-Sustained Yield Act (MUSYA) to an "allowed 
use" in managing rangeland ecosystems. The 
Forest Service is ignoring specific direction in 
the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act (BJFTA) as 
well as MUSYA and the National Forest Manage- 
ment Act (NFMA) to maintain livestock grazing 
as a viable use of federal land. Small ranching 
businesses were established on the basis of 
National Forest commitments to maintain the 
stability of the livestock industry, and the family 
businesses upon which it was founded. Grazing 
permits have been purchased as part of the base 
property. Without them, family ranchers will not 
own sustainable operations. 

Response: '"Multiple use' means management of 
all the various renewable surface resources of 
the National Forests so that they are utilized in 
the combination that will best meet the needs of 
the American people; making the most judicious 
use of the land for some or all of these resources 
or related services over areas large enough to 
provide sufficient latitude for periodic adjust- 
ments in use to conform to changing needs and 
conditions; that some land will be used for less 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 148 



than all of the resources; and harmonious and 
coordinated management of the various re- 
sources, each with the other, without impairment 
of the productivity of the land, with consider- 
ation being given to the relative values of the 
various resources, and not necessarily the combi- 
nation of uses that will give the greatest dollar 
return or the greatest unit output" (MUSYA, 
Sec.4). 



4. Comment: The Forest Service should do an 
economic analysis for each range improvement 
project. 

Response: It is Forest Service policy to do an 
economic analysis of proposed rangeland pro- 
jects according to the Range Project Effective- 
ness Handbook (FSH 2209.11). This would 
continue under the Preferred Alternative. 



A significant part of the Forest Service Preferred 
Alternative is to plan for rangeland activities and 
to regulate grazing use within an ecosystem 
management framework. This embodies the 
intent of Congress to coordinate management of 
the various resources without impairment of the 
productivity of the land. Livestock grazing can 
be authorized where it is the most judicious use 
of the land, can be coordinated with other uses, 
and authorized without impairment to the pro- 
ductivity of the land. The Forest Service does 
not interpret the BJFTA, MUSYA, and NFMA 
as providing specific direction to maintain live- 
stock grazing on National Forest System lands. 
However, the Forest Service would fully intend 
to maintain livestock grazing as a viable use of 
National Forest System lands in compliance with 
all governing laws. In addition to the laws 
mentioned above, these include the Organic 
Administration Act of 1897, the Granger-Thye 
Act of 1950, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1970, the 
Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, the Forest 
and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning 
Act of 1974, the Federal Land Policy and Man- 
agement Act of 1976, and the Public Rangelands 
Improvement Act of 1978. 

Federal laws and the courts have consistently 
held that issuance of a grazing permit does not 
create any right, title, interest, or estate in the 
public lands or resources. Recognition of permit 
value by federal land management agencies 
would allow permittees to retain the capitalized 
value of a public resource in their hands, a 
resource that has never been conveyed by the 
public to the permittees. See the draft EIS, page 
3-70, for a more detailed discussion of permit 
value. 



5. Comment: The Forest Service should allow 
permittees to contract rangeland planning for 
their allotments subject to Forest Service concur- 
rence with the results. 

Response: The Forest Service does and would 
continue to allow permittees to contract range- 
land planning according to Forest Service stan- 
dards. Rangeland planning would refocus from 
a single-allotment approach to groups of similar 
allotments or a watershed approach. Contracting 
would allow groups of permittees to pool their 
resources to contract rangeland planning, poten- 
tially reducing individual permittee costs. 

6. Comment: Currently, the Forest Service has not 
been able to complete allotment management 
plans (AMPs) and the disclosure of environmen- 
tal effects complying with the National Environ- 
mental Policy Act (NEPA) for most of its allot- 
ments. There is great concern about the ability of 
the Forest Service to accomplish rangeland 
project decisions in the future in a timely fash- 
ion. Many grazing permits will expire in the next 
few years and there is concern about the Forest 
Service 's ability to issue new permits. The Pro- 
posed Action creates more uncertainty with 
permit tenure, further eroding financial stability 
and destroying opportunities to secure financial 
support from lending institutions. 

Response: The Forest Services' intent under the 
Preferred Alternative is to conduct environmental 
analysis on a landscape or watershed scale, 
typically including more than one allotment. One 
advantage of this approach is efficiency of scale, 
enabling the Forest Service to complete planning 
on more allotments at a time. The Forest Service 
recognizes that this task would not be easy. The 
Forest Service would complete rangeland project 



14V 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



decisions over a reasonable time period follow- 
ing the schedule for completing these decisions. 

7. Comment: Some commenters believe that the 
intent to put forest plan standards and guidelines 
in grazing permits is good but that many forest 
plan standards and guidelines are inadequate or 
vague. Other commenters stated that forest plan 
standards and guidelines are too rigid and do 
not allow for site specific variations. Others felt 
that the permit must contain language on penal- 
ties for violating the standards and guidelines. 

Response: Site-specific management require- 
ments that conformed to forest plan standards 
and guidelines would be developed through the 
NEPA process by interdisciplinary teams with 
permittee and other public involvement. These 
requirements would be documented in rangeland 
project decisions. The management requirements 
from RPDs would become terms and conditions 
of the grazing permit. An authorized officer 
could cancel, suspend, or modify a permit, in 
whole or in part, if a permittee failed to comply 
with the conditions of the permit. The type and 
severity of the penalty would depend on the 
circumstances surrounding the permit noncompli- 
ance. The forest plan could be amended pursuant 
to NEPA if forest plan standards and guidelines 
are inadequate, vague, or too restrictive, 

8. Comment: The proposed action should describe 
a two-phase planning process. The first phase 
would require the Forest Service, with help from 
outside parties as needed, to gather the appro- 
priate technical data needed to develop the 
rangeland project decision. Once such informa- 
tion is available, the land management agency, 
the permittee, the landowner and the state having 
land within the allotment would develop a pro- 
posed action. As required by the Public Range- 
lands Improvement Act (PRIA), Section 8, this 
preferred alternative should be developed in 

"careful and considered consultation, coopera- 
tion and coordination. " 

Once the proposed action is developed, the 
second phase would be compliance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) with 
full public participation. When the NEPA process 
is completed, the agency would make its final 



management decision. The decision should 
include specific management requirements. On 
very large allotments the permittee should be 
required to live on or adjacent to the allotment 
or at the least a herder should be available. 

The allotment management plan (AMP) is a 
vehicle for considering the allotment as a whole. 
Range management decisions happen at the AMP 
level. Do not eliminate the AMP if the proposed 
action has no other vehicle for public consider- 
ation of the allotment other than individual range 
projects. Do not eliminate the AMP because it 
should be used to evaluate progress toward 
achieving goals and objectives. 

Response: The Forest Service develops a pro- 
posed action based on the management direction 
in the forest plan and input from interested 
parties. Examples of proposed actions for range- 
land management include rangeland improve- 
ments, authorization of livestock grazing, and 
maintenance or modification of specific plant 
communities or other resource conditions. Dur- 
ing development of a proposed action, the Forest 
Service consults with affected permittees; land- 
owners; county, state and other federal agencies; 
and others who may have knowledge of the area 
important to the action being proposed. The 
permittee has the opportunity to participate 
during development of the proposed action, 
satisfying the requirements of PRIA and the 
Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
(FLPMA). 

The environmental, economic, and social effects 
of a proposed action and alternatives developed 
during public scoping are evaluated and dis- 
closed through the NEPA process. The autho- 
rized officer then issues a NEPA decision. The 
NEPA decision includes specific management 
and monitoring requirements. The Forest Service 
has no authority to require permittees to live on 
or adjacent to an allotment. The NEPA decision 
is being termed the rangeland project decision 
(RPD) under the new regulations. The difference 
between the current Forest Service procedures 
and the new procedures is that the management 
requirements in the RPD would be incorporated 
directly as terms and conditions of the grazing 
permit. Under the current procedures the Forest 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 150 



Service puts the management requirements from 
the NEPA decision into an AMP and then makes 
the AMP a part of the permit. The revised 
procedures would streamline the process by 
eliminating an intermediary step of developing 
an AMP. Even though AMPs would be phased 
out, the permittee and other interested publics 
would be consulted during the rangeland project 
decision process. 

9. Comment: Rangeland project decisions and 
authorized grazing would replace allotment 
management plans, which means that if National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) decisions are 
such that no grazing is to be allowed on water- 
sheds, then an existing grazing permit would be 
cancelled without due process. This is a hidden 
agenda to remove productive grazing land with- 
out scientific evidence or an independent appeals 
process. 

Response: Rangeland project decisions would 
not replace allotment management plans (AMPs). 
Currently (1) a proposed action is developed in 
consultation with interested and affected parties, 
(2) a NEPA analysis is conducted on that pro- 
posed action and alternatives, (3) a decision is 
made whether and in what manner grazing is to 
occur, (4) an AMP is developed from the NEPA 
decision, and (5) the AMP is made a condition 
of the permit. 

The Preferred Alternative would eliminate the 
fourth step above of de\eloping an AMP. In- 
stead, site-specific management requirements 
from the rangeland project decision would be 
incorporated directly into the grazing permit as 
terms and conditions. The NEPA decision would 
be the rangeland project decision. Under these 
procedures as under the previous procedures, if 
the rangeland project decision was to change 
grazing practices or adjust the level of livestock 
grazing, then the grazing permit would be modi- 
fied accordingly. 

There is no hidden agenda to eliminate livestock 
from National Forest System lands. Livestock 
grazing would continue to be adjusted as needed 
according to the findings of the environmental 
analysis (NEPA), which would be conducted by 



professional resource managers with full public 
and permittee participation. 

A rangeland project (NEPA) decision would be 
appealable under CFR 215. A decision to modify 
the conditions of a grazing permit would be 
appealable under CFR 25 1 . 

10. Comment: The private stewardship of ranchers 
has succeeded, according to the Forest Service, 
in creating the following situation: "The condi- 
tion of public rangeland is better today than it 
has been at any other time this century. " The 
trend of improvement, directly attributable to 
ranchers ' private investment in water and range 
improvements as well as to developments in the 
science of range management, demonstrates that 
cattle can be a priority which coexists with and 
benefits a second priority, the protection of the 
resource of biological diversity within ecosys- 
tems. 

Response: Rangelands have improved since the 
early 20th century, when overgrazing had re- 
sulted in extremely degraded environmental 
conditions. Improved grazing practices by ranch- 
ers have been a large part of the reason for this 
improvement since the 1930s. While many of the 
uplands within the National Forest System are 
generally meeting or moving toward forest plan 
goals and objectives, some are still in unsatisfac- 
tory condition. While improvement is being 
made in the management of riparian areas, many 
of these areas are still in a downward trend and 
not meeting or moving toward forest plan goals 
and objectives. The use of National Forest 
System lands must provide for sustainable eco- 
systems. Livestock use may be permitted where 
it is consistent with forest plans and provides for 
the sustainable use of national forest resources. 
Livestock use would be modified where it does 
not allow the sustainable use of the resources. 
Decisions on the appropriateness of livestock 
grazing would be made in a site-specific analysis 
with full public participation. 

1 1 . Comment: The government should be looking for 
ways to promote productive use of renewable 
resources in the face of the growing national 
debt. Using grass through livestock grazing puts 
to use what would otherwise go to waste. The 



151 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



centuries-long history of bison and cattle as 
members of the ecosystem clearly demonstrates 
that grazing is a sustainable and suitable use of 
a renewable resource. Ensuring continued eco- 
nomically viable grazing on western federal 
lands should be a priority. 

Response: In ecosystems that developed with 
large ungulates, grazing use can stimulate some 
natural processes. Livestock grazing, however, 
does not often mimic natural large ungulate use 
patterns of moving, herding, and leaving heavily 
impacted areas. Management practices that halt 
yearlong grazing on the same piece of ground 
would help to mimic natural ungulate activities. 
The benefits of grazing and grazing disturbance 
in some ecosystems are discussed in several 
places in the draft EIS, particularly under the 
impacts of the No Grazing alternative. The 
benefit of large ungulate impact in certain cases 
is discussed on pages 3-22, 4-109, 4-110, 4-112, 
and 4-113 of the draft EIS, for example. In 
ecosystems that developed without large ungu- 
lates, grazing use does not take the place of a 
natural process. The draft EIS describes ecosys- 
tems that would respond slowly to removal of 
livestock and considers grazing and grazing 
disturbance processes in the analysis of effects to 
vegetation under each alternative. 

12. Comment: The public should be involved in 
developing forest plan management direction and 
establishing site-specific objectives and desired 
future conditions within ecosystems or landscape 
areas. Texas courts ruled that a new, site-spe- 
cific NEPA process is not required for specific 
management programs called for in the forest 
plan. Therefore, technical implementation, such 
as AMPs, do not need public involvement. Imple- 
menting grazing use is best left to the on-the- 
ground line officer and user in coordination to 
meet the conditions prescribed by the public. 
The Forest Service should continue to develop 
and update AMPs for individual allotments to 
meet the needs of the local area and ranchers. 



Response: The Forest Service has a tiered 
planning process for all activities on national 
forests and grasslands which includes public 
involvement. Forest plans are developed as 



required by the National Forest Management Act 
(NFMA) as programmatic documents that allow 
activities and programs to occur within specified 
parameters, called standards and guidelines. 
Rarely are forest plans site-specific when dis- 
closing environmental effects of any allowed 
activity. If environmental impacts are disclosed 
at the site-specific level in a forest plan, then 
further analysis under the National Environmen- 
tal Policy Act (NEPA) would not be required. 
But it is generally at the second tier where forest 
plan standards and guidelines are used as a 
framework to develop and analyze site-specific 
plans and impacts for projects and management 
activities as required by NEPA. In the case of 
rangeland projects, involvement of the permittee 
and other interested publics is important when 
developing a workable, environmentally sound 
project. Management decisions for rangeland use 
made at the site-specific level through NEPA 
would be the rangeland project decisions (RPDs) 
discussed in Chapter 2, Alternative 2 (Proposed 
Action) of the drat EIS. These decisions could 
be landscape-based and could encompass more 
than one grazing allotment. The Forest Service 
Preferred Alternative would include the incorpo- 
ration of management requirements from RPDs 
as terms and conditions of grazing permits for 
individual allotments. Currently, NEPA deci- 
sions are made in conjunction with AMPs for 
individual grazing allotments. Then the AMP, as 
the implementing document, is incorporated as a 
condition of the grazing permit. The Forest 
Service proposal to eliminate AMP preparation 
as an unneeded step in the process would not 
eliminate or limit the permittee's involvement in 
developing a rangeland management strategy. 
Where an RPD or NEPA decision authorizes 
livestock grazing, the issuing of grazing permits 
for individual allotments would merely imple- 
ment the decision and would not be subject to 
more NEPA analysis or public involvement. See 
response 11 in this section. 

13. Comment: Section 402 of the Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) requires 
the Forest Service to prepare allotment manage- 
ment plans (AMP). The Forest Service does not 
have the legal authority to eliminate AMPs by 
regulation. The Forest Service proposal to 
eliminate allotment management plans (AMPs) is 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 152 



inconsistent with the BLM and will add confu- 
sion. 

Response: Section 402(d) of FLPMA authorizes 
but does not require AMPs for managing live- 
stock operations. On the basis of the agency's 
two-tiered planning and decisionmaking process, 
the Forest Service has decided that AMP prepa- 
ration is unnecessary. AMPs appear to create a 
middle tier of planning and decisionmaking that 
does not conform to the two-tier planning and 
decision making process used in planning for all 
other forest resources. The Forest Service con- 
sults with the permittee and other interested 
parties as it develops a proposed management 
strategy. Under the Proposed Action, this man- 
agement strategy would continue to be analyzed 
through a NEPA process in consultation with the 
permittee and other interested parties. The 
management requirements from the rangeland 
project decision would be incorporated as terms 
and conditions of the grazing permit. These 
procedures would be consistent with Section 
402(e) of FLPMA. Eliminating the AMP prepa- 
ration step would make the Forest Service's 
rangeland planning procedures consistent with 
planning for other resource uses in the Forest 
Service and would clarify when and where 
livestock grazing and livestock use decisions are 
made. 

14. Comment: Issuance of permits for less than 10 
years is a violation of FLPMA. 

Response: This is incorrect. FLPMA authorizes 
the issuance of grazing permits for less than 10 
years if the land is pending disposal, the land 
will be devoted to a public purpose in less than 
ten years, or if issuing such a permit would be 
in the best interest of sound resource manage- 
ment. However, FLPMA also provides that the 
lack of details in an AMP or the absence of 
completed land use plans or court-ordered envi- 
ronmental statements can not be the sole basis 
for issuing a short term permit in the interest of 
sound resource management. 

15. Comment: The Proposed Action in the Draft EIS 
is to issue temporary grazing permits pending 
completion of rangeland project decisions. This 
is a violation of FLPMA. 



Response: The Preferred Alternative would 
require the issuance of grazing permits for a 
term of up to 10 years pending completion of 
rangeland project decisions. 

16. Comment: The proposed Forest Service action 
for grazing permit reissuance appears to increase 
the bureaucratic process substantially. If the 
agency is going to go to the trouble of preparing 
NEPA documents for reissuance of grazing 
permits for 1-3 years, they should do whatever is 
required to complete NEPA analysis so that the 
permit can be reissued for a full 10-year term. 

Response: An environmental analysis pursuant 
to NEPA is needed to authorize livestock grazing 
for a grazing permit of any length term. If the 
Forest Service determined through the environ- 
mental analysis that the resources within an 
allotment were not meeting or moving toward 
forest plan goals and objectives due to livestock 
grazing, the authorized officer could decide to 
issue a permit for less than 10 years if it would 
be in the best interest of sound resource manage- 
ment. 

17. Comment: AMPs should be replaced with 
watershed-based project decisions. The Forest 
Service and BLM should first do joint watershed 
studies, then coordinate project decisions that 
lead to meeting state water quality standards. 

Response: The Preferred Alternative would 
result in a phasing-out (but not immediate elimi- 
nation) of AMPs. AMPs that are current (includ- 
ing appropriate disclosure of environmental 
effects) would remain valid. Environmental 
analysis (upon which rangeland project decisions 
would be based) would be done at an appropriate 
landscape scale decided upon by the authorized 
officer. A watershed-level scale could be one 
(among others) chosen to meet the analyses 
needs or objectives. The Preferred Alternative 
would not preclude the authorized officer from 
coordinating efforts with the BLM throughout 
the rangeland project decision process. 



153 



Chapter 5 - Consultation and Coordination 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 154 



Appendix F 

Threatened, Endangered, and 

Proposed Species List 

This appendix presents the federally designated endangered, threatened, and proposed species. Information is 
based on the most current published status when the draft EIS went to press: 50 CFR 17.11 and 17.12, 
Endangered & Threatened Wildlife and Plants, August 23, 1993. Changes since publication of the draft EIS 
are included as of September 29, 1994. The status of any species may have changed before publication of the 
final EIS, including the addition of new species. Current status should always be confirmed with a local Fish 
and Wildlife Service office. Plant species are alphabetized by scientific name to preserve the generic 
relationships for species lacking known common names. 

Species on the following list occur on public or Forest Service lands on or near areas that are grazed by 
livestock. Many of the species listed may be affected by livestock grazing either adversely or beneficially, 
either directly or indirectly, and some may not be affected at all. Some of the species may occur in ungrazed 
areas. 

The symbols used in this table are as follows: 

E = Endangered Species. Any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion 
of its range. 

T = Threatened Species. Any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable 
future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. 

ECH & TCH = Endangered (E) or threatened (T) species for which a critical habitat (CH) has been 
designated. The term "critical habitat" is defined as the specific areas within the geographical range occupied 
by the species on which are found those physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the 
species and which may require special management considerations or protection; and specific areas outside the 
geographical rangeland occupied by the species that are essential for the conservation of the species. 

PE = Proposed endangered. 

PT = Proposed threatened . 

PCH = Proposed critical habitat. 



Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 


Mammals 


Bat, Mexican Long-nosed 


Leptonycteris nivalis 


E 


Bat, Lesser Long-nosed (Sanborn's) 


Leptonycteris yerbabuenae 


E 


Bear, Grizzly or Brown 


Ursus arctos horribilis 


T 


Caribou, Woodland 


Rangifer tarandus caribou 


E 



155 Appendix F - Threatened, Endangered, & Proposed Species List 



Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 


Deer, Columbian White-tail 


Odocoileus virginianus leucurus 


E 


Ferret, Black-footed 


Mustela nigripes 


E 


Jaguarundi 


Felis yagouaroundi tolteca 


E 


Rat, Giant Kangaroo 


Dipodomys ingens 


E 


Rat, Stephen's Kangaroo 


Dipodomys stephensi 


E 


Rat, Tipton Kangaroo 


Dipodomys nitratoides 


E 


Fox, San Joaquin Kit 


Vulpes macrotis mutica 


E 


Beaver, Point Arena Mountain 


Aplodontia rufa 


E 


Ocelot 


Felis pardalis 


E 


Prairie Dog, Utah 


Cynomys parvidens 


T 


Pronghorn, Sonoran 


Antilocapra americana sonoriensis 


E 


Squirrel, Mount Graham Red 


Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis 


E 


Vole, Hualapai Mexican 


Microtus mexicanus hualpaiensis 


E 


Wolf, Gray 


Canis lupus 


E 


Birds 


Condor, California 


Gymnogyps californianus 


ECH 


Crane, Whooping 


Grus americana 


ECH 


Curlew, Eskimo 


Numenius borealis 


E 


Eagle, Bald 


Haliaeetus leucocephalus 


T (E in SW) 


Falcon, American Peregrine 


Falco peregrinus anatum 


E 


Falcon, Northern Aplomado 


Falco femoialis septentrionalis 


E 


Flycatcher, Southwestern Willow 


Empidonax trailii extimus 


PE,PCH 


Gnatcatcher, California 


Polioptila californica californica 


T 


Goose, Aleutian Canada 


Branta canadesis leucopareia 


T 


Murrelet, Marbled 


Brachyramphus marmoratus marmoratus 


T 


Owl, Mexican Spotted 


Strix occidentalis lucida 


T 


Owl, Northern Spotted 


Strix occidentalis courina 


T 


Parrot, Thick-billed 


Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha 


E 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 156 



Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 


Pelican, Brown 


Pelecanus occidentalis 


E 


Plover, Piping 


Charadrius melodus 


E(Tin 
WEST) 


Plover, Western Snowy 


Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus 


T 


Rail, Yuma Clapper 


Rallus longirostris yumanensis 


E 


Tern, California Least 


Sterna antillarum browni 


E 


Tern, Least 


Sterna antillarum 


E 


Vireo, Least Bell's 


Vireo bellii pusillus 


E 


Fishes 








Chub, Bonytail 


Gila elegans 


ECH 


Chub, Borax Lake 


Gila boraxobius 


E 


Chub, Chihuahua 


Gila nigrescens 


T 


Chub, Humpback 


Gila cypha 


ECH 


Chub, Hutton Tui 


Gila bicolor ssp. 


T 


Chub, Owens tui 


Gila bicolor snyderi 


E 


Chub, Pahranagat Roundtail 


Gila robusta jordani 


E 


Chub, Sonora 


Gila ditaenia 


TCH 


Chub, Virgin River 


Gila robusta semidnuda 


E 


Dace, Ash Meadows Speckled 


Rhinichthys osculus nevadensis 


ECH 


Dace, Clover Valley Speckled 


Rhinichthys osculus oligoporus 


E 


Dace, Desert 


Eremicmhthys acros 


TCH 


Dace, Foskett Speckled 


Rhinichthys osculus 


T 


Dace, Moapa 


Moapa coriacea 


E 


Gambusia, Pecos 


Gambusia nobilis 


E 


Minnow, Loach 


Tiaroga cobitis 


TCH 


Poolfish (Killifish), Pahrump 


Empetrichthys latos 


E 


Pupfish, Ash Meadows Amargosa 


Cyprinodon nevadensis mionectes 


ECH 


Pupfish, Desert 


Cyprinodon macularius 


ECH 


Pupfish, Devil's Hole 


Cyprinodon diabolis 


E 



157 Appendix F - Threatened, Endangered, & Proposed Species List 



Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 


Pupfish, Owens 


Cyprinodon radiosus 


E 


Pupfish, Warm Springs 


Cyprinodon nevadensis pectoralis 


E 


Salmon, Sacramento Winter-run Chi- 
nook 


Oncorhynchus tshawytscha 


ECH 


Salmon, Snake River Sockeye 


Oncorhynchus nerka 


ECH 


Salmon, Snake River Fall Chinook 


Oncorhynchus tschawytscha 


ECH 


Salmon, Snake River Spring/Summer 
Chinook 


Oncorhynchus tschawytscha 


ECH 


Shiner, Beautiful 


Cyprinella (Notropis) formosa 


TCH 


Shiner, Pecos Bluntnose 


Notropis siitnus pecosensis 


TCH 


Spikedace 


Meda fulgida 


TCH 


Spinedace, Big Spring 


Lepidomeda mollispinis pratensis 


TCH 


Spinedace, Little Colorado River 


Lepidomeda vittata 


T 


Spinedace, White River 


Lepidomeda albivallis 


ECH 


Spinedace, Virgin 


Lepidomeda m. mollispinis 


PT 


Springfish, Hiko White River 


Crenichthysi baileyi grandis 


ECH 


Springfish, Railroad Valley 


Crenichthys nevadae 


TCH 


Springfish, White River 


Crenichthys baileyi baileyi 


ECH 


Squawfish, Colorado River 


Ptychocheilus lucius 


XN',ECH 


Stickleback, Unarmored Threespine 


Gasterosteus aculeatus williamsoni 


E 


Sturgeon, Pallid 


Scaphirhynchus albus 


E 


Sucker, June 


Chasmistes liorus 


ECH 


Sucker, Lost River 


Deltistes luxatus 


E 


Sucker, Klamath Largescale 


Catastomus snyderi 


E 


Sucker, Modoc 


Catastomus microps 


ECH 


Sucker, Razorback 


Xyrauchen texanus 


ECH 


Sucker, Shortnose 


Chasmistes brevirostris 


ECH 


Sucker, Warner 


Catostomus warnerensis 


T 


Topminnow, Gila (incl. Yaqui) Poeciliopsisi occidentalis 


E 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 158 



Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 


Trout, Apache 


Oncorhynchus (= Salmo) apache 


T 


Trout, Gila 


Oncorhynchus (= Salmo) gilae 


E 


Trout, Greenback Cutthroat 


Oncorhynchus clarki stomias 


T 


Trout, Lahontan Cutthroat 


Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi 


T 


Trout, Little Kern Golden 


Oncorhynchus aguabonita whitei 


TCH 


Trout, Paiute Cutthroat 


Oncorhynchus clarki seleniris 


T 


Trout, Umpqua River Cutthroat 


Oncorhynchus clarki 


PE 


Woundfin 


Plagopterus argentissimus 


E,XN1 


Reptiles and Amphibians 


Frog, California Red Legged 


Rana aurora draytonii 


PE 


Lizard, Blunt-nosed Leopard 


Gambelia silus 


E 


Rattlesnake, New Mexican Ridge-nosed 


Crotalus willardi obscurus 


TCH 


Salamander, Sonoran Tiger 


Ambystoma tigrinum stebbinsi 


PE 


Toad, Wyoming 


Bufo hemiophrys baxteri 


E 


Tortoise, Desert (Mojave) 


Gopherus agassizii 


TCH 


Insects 


Beetle, American Burying (= Giant Car- 
rion Beetle) 


Nicrophorus americanus 


E 


Beetle, Valley Elderberry Long-horn 


Desmocerus californicus dimorphus 


TCH 


Butterfly, Laguna Mountain Skipper 


Pyrgus ravalis lagunae 


PE 


Butterfly, Oregon Silverspot 


Speyeria zerene hippolyta 


TCH 


Butterfly, Quino Checkerspot 


Euphilotes editha quino 


PE 


Butterfly, Smith's Blue 


Euphilotes enoptes smithi 


E 


Moth, Kem Primrose Sphinx 


Euproserpinus euterpe 


T 


Naucorid, Ash Meadows 


Ambrysus amargosus 


TCH 


Crustaceans and Mollusks 


Crayfish, Shasta 


Pacifastacus fortis 


E 


Isopod, Socorro 


Thermosphaeroma thermophilus 


E 


Shrimp, Longhorn Fairy 


Branchinecta longiartenna 


PE 



159 Appendix F - Threatened, Endangered, & Proposed Species List 



Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 


Shrimp, San Diego Fairy 


Branchinecta sandiegoensis 


PE 


Shrimp, Vernal Pool Fairy 


Branchinecta lynchi 


PE 


Springsnail, Bruneau Hot 


Pyrgulopsis bruneauensis 


E 


Plants 


Agave, Arizona 


Agave arizoriica 


E 


Blue-star, Kearney's 


Amsonia kearneyana 


E 


Bear-poppy, Dwarf 


Arctomecon humilis 


E 


Manzanita, Morro 


Arctostaphylos morroensis 


PE 


Prickly-poppy, Sacramento 


Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta 


E 


Milkweed, Welsh's 


Asclepias welshii 


TCH 


Milk-vetch, Applegate's 


Astragalus applegatei 


E 


Milk- vetch, Braunton's 


Astragalus brauntonii 


PE 


Milk-vetch, Sentry 


Astragalus cremnophylax var. 
cremnophylax 


E 


Milk-vetch, Mancos 


Astragalus humillimus 

6 




Milk-vetch, Sodaville 


Astragalus lentiginosus ssp. 
sesquimetralis 


PT 


Milk-vetch, Heliotrope 


Astragalus montii 


TCH 


Milk-vetch, Osterhout 


Astragalus osterhoutii 


E 


Milk-vetch, Ash Meadows 


Astragalus phoenix 


TCH 


Encinitas Baccharis 


Baccharis vanessae 


PE 


Stebbins Morning Glory 


Calystegia stebbinsii 


PE 


Camissonia, Atwood's 


Camissonia atwoodii 


T 


Primrose, San Benito Evening 


Camissonia benitensis 


T 


Clover, Fleshy Owl's 


Castilleja campestris ssp. succulenta 


PT 


Golden Paintbrush 


Castilleja Levisecta 


PT 


Jewelflower, California 


Caulanthus californicus 


E 


Pine Hill Ceanothus 


Ceanothus roderickii 


PE 


Centaury, Spring-loving 


Centaurium namophilum var. 
namophilum 


TCH 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 160 



Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 


Spurge, Hoover's 


Chamaesyce hooverii 


PT 


Thistle, Chorro Creek Bog 


Cirsium fontinale obispoense 


PE 


Thistle, Sacramento Mountains 


Cirsium vinaceum 


T 


Cactus, Cochise Pincushion 


Coryphantha robbinsorum 


T 


Cactus, Pima Pineapple 


Coryphantha scheeri var. robustispina 


E 


Cactus, Sneed Pincushion 


Coryphantha sneedi var. sneedii 


E 


Cactus, Lee Pincushion 


Coryphantha sneedii var. leei 


T 


Cycladenia, Jones 


Cycladenia humilis var. jonesii 


T 


Biscuit Root, Higgin's 


Cymopterus higginsii 


T 


Cuyamaca Lake Dowingia 


Dowingia concolor var. brevior 


PE 


Dudley, Verity's 


Dudleya verityi 


PT 


Cactus, Nichol's Turk's Head 


Echinocactus horizonthalonius var. 
nicholii 


E 


Cactus, Kuenzler Hedgehog 


Echinocereus fendleri var. kuenzleri 


E 


Cactus, Lloyd's Hedgehog 


Echinocereus lloydii 


E 


Cactus, Arizona Hedgehog 


Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. 
arizonicus 


E 


Cactus, Spineless Hedgehog 


Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. 
inermis 


E 


Sunray, Ash Meadows 


Enceliopsis nudicaulis var. corrugata 


TCH 


Mallow, Kern 


Eremalche kernensis 


E 


Wooly-star, Hoover's 


Eriastrum hooveri 


T 


Daisy, Maguire 


Erigeron maguirei var. maguirei 


E 


Fleabane, Rhizome 


Erigeron rhizomatus 


T 


Wild-buckwheat, Gypsum 


Eriogonum gypsophilum 


TCH 


Buckwheat, Steamboat 


Eriogonum ovalifolium var. williamsiae 


E 


Buckwheat, Clay-loving 


Eriogonum pelinophilum 


ECH 


Flannelbush, Pine Hill 


Fremontodendron californicum ssp. 
decumbens 


PE 


Bedstraw, El Dorado 


Galium californicum ssp. sierrae 


PE 



161 Appendix F - Threatened, Endangered, & Proposed Species List 



Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 


Cress, Toad-flax 


Glaucocarpum suffrutescens 


E 


Gumplant, Ash Meadows 


Grindelia fraxinopratensis 


TCH 


Pennyroyal, McKittrick 


Hedeoma apiculatum 


T 


Pennyroyal, Todsen's 


Hedeoma todsenii 


ECH 


Howellia, Water 


Howellia aquatilis 


T 


Ipomopsis, Holy Ghost 


Ipomopsis sancti-spiritis 


E 


Ivesia, Ash Meadows 


Ivesia kingii var. eremica 


TCH 


Wooly-threads, San Joaquin Valley 


Lembertia congdonii 


E 


Bladderpod, Dudley Bluffs 


Lesquerella congesta 


T 


Bladderpod, Kodachrome 


Lesquerella tumulosa 


E 


Huachuca Water Umbel 


Lilaeopsis schaffneriana ssp. recurva 


PE 


Parish's Meadowfoam 


Limnanfhes gracilis ssp. parishii 


PT 


Lomatium, Bradshaw's 


Lomatium bradshawii 


E 


Blazingstar, Ash Meadows 


Mentzelia leucophylla 


TCH 


Four-o'clock, Macfarlane's 


Mirabilis macfarlanei 


E 


Bakersfield Cactus 


Opuntia treleasei 


E 


Grass, California Orcutt 


Orcuttia inaequalis 


E 


Cactus, Brady Pincushion 


Pediocactus bradyi 


E 


Cactus, San Rafael 


Pediocactus despainii 


E 


Cactus, Knowlton 


Pediocactus knowltonii 


E 


Cactus, Peebles Navaho 


Pediocactus peeblesianus var. 
peeblesianus 


E 


Cactus, Siler Pincushion 


Pediocactus sileri 


T 


Cactus, Winkler 


Pediocactus winkleri 


PE 


Beardtongue, Penland 


Penstemon penlandii 


E 


Lyon's Pentachaeta 


Pentachaeta lyonii 


PE 


Phacelia, Clay 


Phacelia argillacea 


E 


Phacelia, North Park 


Phacelia formosula 


E 


Twinpod, Dudley Bluffs 


Physaria obcordata 


T 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 162 



Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Status 


Orchid, Western Prairie Fringed 


Platanthera praeclara 


T 


Primrose, Maguire 


Primula maguirei 


T 


Cactus, Mesa Verde 


Sclerocactus mesae - verdae 


T 


Cactus, Wright Fishhook 


Sclerocactus wrightiae 


E 


Groundsel, San Francisco Peaks 


Senecio franciscanus 


T 


Butterweed, Layne's 


Senecio layneae 


PT 


Checker-mallow, Nelson's 


Sidalcea nelsoniana 


T 


Lady's-tresses, Canelo Hill 


Spiranthes delitescens 


PE 


Lady's-tresses, Ute 


Spiranthes divuialis 


T 


Wirelettuce, Malheur 


Stephanomeria malheurensis 


ECH 


Townsendia, Last Chance 


Townsendia aprica 


T 


Pseudobahia, Tulare 


Pseudobahia peirsoni 


PE 


Cliffrose, Arizona 


Purshia subintegra 


E 


Buttercup, Sharp Autumn 


Ranunculus acriformis var. aestivalis 


E 


Reed-mustard, Barneby 


Schoenocrambe barnebyi 


E 


Cactus, Unita Basin Hookless 


Sclerocactus glaucus 


T 



Experimental nonessential in Gila River drainage of Arizona. 



163 Appendix F - Threatened, Endangered, & Proposed Species List 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 164 



APPENDIX T 

BIOLOGICAL OPINION & CONFERENCE REPORT 

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE 
NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE 



165 Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



Endangered Species Act - Section 7 Consultation 

BIOLOGICAL OPINION and CONFERENCE REPORT 

Agencies: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land 
Management 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service 

Activity: Rangel and Reform '94 

Consultation Conducted By: 

U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service 

and 
U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries 

Service Nov 4 1994 

Date Issued: 

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED ACTION 

Rangel and Reform '94 is a proposal of the U.S. Department 
of the Interior (USDI) and the Bureau of Land Management 
(BLM), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture and the Forest Service to administer their 
National grazing programs. These agencies administer 
livestock grazing on approximately 270 million acres 
Federal rangel ands. The proposal involves policy and 
regulatory changes in BLM and the Forest Service's 
rangel and management programs intended to improve 
ecological conditions while providing sustainable 
development on lands administered by the two agencies. 

A major policy element of the reform package consists of 
National requirements and direction for developing State or 
regional standards and guidelines for livestock grazing on 
BLM-administered lands. A provision for fallback standards 
to take effect if regional standards and guidelines have 
not been developed within 18 months is also included in the 
reform package. 

To meet the National requirements, BLM will develop State 
or regional standards and guidelines and complete a land 
use plan conformance test within 18 months. All such 
standards and guidelines will be subject to compliance with 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and BLM's 
planning regulations and Endangered Species Act (ESA) 
requirements. Those State and regional standards and 
guidelines conforming to existing land use plans will be 
implemented immediately. Standards and guidelines not 
conforming to existing land use plans will require plan 
amendments, additional NEPA analysis, and ESA section 7 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 166 



consul tation/conferenceshould listed species be affected, 
proposed species be jeopardized, or proposed or designated 
critical habitats be adversely modified. If regional 
standards and guidelines have not been developed by the end 
of 18 months, the standards and guidelines contained in 
Rangel and Reform 1994 will serve as fall back standards and 
guidelines and will be implemented at the State level 
immediately subject to the plan conformance test, NEPA.and 
ESA compliance. 

National Forest Land and Resource Management Plans have 
standards and guidelines for managing rangel and resources 
on Forest Service-administeredlands. The Forest Service 
will continue to develop standards and guidelines at the 
forest plan level . Compliance with section 7 of the ESA 
will be met at that level when appropriate. A significant 
element of the Forest Service's proposal is the elimination 
of al 1 otment management pi ans . Management requi rements 
from landscape-level rangel and project decisions will be 
incorporated into grazing permits. 

BLM and the Forest Service also propose other 
administrative regulatory changes in their rangel and 
management programs . Regul atory changes are analyzed i n 
the Rangel and Reform 1994 Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) document. 

In addition, BLM and the Forest Service propose to change 
the formula for calculating fees for grazing on lands in 
the western States. 

Rangel and Reform '94 is the preferred alternative of BLM 
and the Forest Service, and adoption of the policy will 
change many elements of the agencies' current rangel and 
policies, regulations, and management practices. The 
preferred alternative includes BLM National requirements 
and provides the basis for developing State, regional or 
local standards and guidelines for managing rangel and 
ecosystems administered by BLM. The proposed action will 
also establish more consistent BLM and Forest Service 
management programs to improve ecological conditions while 
mai ntai ni ng opportuni ti es for 1 ong-term sustai nabi 1 i ty . 

BLM National Requirements and Standards and Guidelines 

Under the proposed action, BLM will adopt and implement 
National requirements for public rangelands. State, 
regional or local standards and guidelines will assure that 
management actions are conducted in accordance with 
ecol ogi cal pri nci pi es . Standards and gui del i nes wi 1 1 
maintain or achieve healthy rangeland ecosystems. 
Management actions that diminish ecosystem function and 



167 



Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



health will be modified or eliminated, and actions 
promoting ecosystem function and health will be implemented 
and maintained. 

BLM will meet National requi rements and implement standards 
and guidelines through all avail able means. For example, 
some standards and guidelines will be implemented through 
design and contract specifications and through terms 
attached to permits, leases and other authorizations for 
the next use period. Failure to comply with such terms 
could result in a permit, lease, or other authorization 
being modified or canceled. 

Areas may require total rest from use or disturbance until 
desired resource conditions are reached. Where an area is 
not progressing toward meeting desired conditions, BLM will 
act to correct the situation before the next use period. 
State, regional or local standards and guidelines will be 
developed to ensure that management actions are appropriate 
to the resources of the specific ecoregions. BLM will 
incorporate the State, regional, or local standards and 
guidelines into its resource management plans, which will 
be subject to NEPA and ESA compliance. 

These standards and guidelines encompass a portion of a 
State, an entire State, or more than one State. Local 
standards and guidelines would not supersede National 
requi rements or State or regional standards and guidelines. 
ESA compliance will be required at these levels. 

BLM National Requi rements for Grazing Administration 

Rangeland-relatedplans and activities on public lands will 
conform to the following. 

Permits and leases, and grazing related plans and activi 
ies on public lands, shall contribute to maintaining or 
achi evi ng properly f uncti oni ng ecosystems , i ncl udi ng the 
following elements. 

(1) Watersheds are in properly functioning physical 
condition, including their upland, riparian-wetland, and 
aquatic components. Soil and plant conditions support 
infiltration, soil moisture storage, and the release of 
water that are in balance with climate and landform and 
maintain or improve water quality, water quantity, and 
timing and duration of flow. 

(2) Ecological processes, including the hydrologic 
cycle, nutrient cycle, and. energy flow, function to 
maintain healthy biotic populations and communities. 






Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 168 



(3) Water quality meets or exceeds State water quality 
standards. 

(4) Habitats, including designated or proposed 
critical habitats, are restored, maintained, or enhanced 
for Federal threatened and endangered species. Federal 
proposed, Category 1 and 2 Federal candidate species, and 
other special status species. 

(5) Management actions shall comply with the legal 
mandates under the Taylor Grazing Act, Federal Land Policy 
Management Act, Public Rangelands Improvement Act, ESA, 
Clean Water Act and other relevant authorities. 

The authorized land management officer shall assure that 
all assessments are conducted and plans are prepared by 
interdisciplinary teams to ensure compliance with the 
National requi rements and appropriate standards and 
guidelines. 

When management practices do not meet the requi rements of 
this section, the authorized officer shall take appropriate 
action before the start of the next grazing year. 

BLM Standards and Guidelines for Grazing Administration 

BLM State Directors, in coordination with the affected 
resource advi sory counci 1 s (where establ i shed) , wi 1 1 be 
responsible for identifying the geographical area for which 
standards and guidelines are developed. Standards and 
guidelines shall be developed for an entire State, or an 
area encompassing portions of more than one State. An 
exception to this would be made if a BLM State Director, in 
coordination with the resource advisory councils, 
determines that the characteristics of an area are unique, 
and the rangelands within the area could not be adequately 
protected using standards and guidelines developed on a 
broader geographical scale. These areas for which 
standards and guidelines are developed will be as large as 
possible, based on similar physical , biological , social and 
economi c features . Speci f i c consi derati on in del i neati ng 
these areas shall be given to climate, geology, 
physiography, soils, hydrology, flora, fauna, social custom 
and human use. 

The BLM State Director shall provide the opportunity to the 
public for involvement in the development of State or 
regional standards and guidelines. 

The BLM State Director shall develop and amend State or 
regional standards and guidelines in consultation with the 
relevant BLM resource advisory councils, Indian tribes, and 



169 



Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



other Federal land management agencies responsible for 
management of lands and resources within the region or area 
under consideration, and the interested public. 

At a minimum. State or regional standards for healthy, 
properly functioning rangel and must address the following 
components: 



(1) 



watershed function. 



(2) water quality, 

(3) nutrient cycling and energy flow, 

(4) habitat quality for native plant and animal 
populations and communities, and 

(5) habitat (including critical or proposed critical 
habitat) for endangered, threatened, proposed, Candidate 1 
or 2 or special status species. 



State or regional guidelines developed for grazing 
management and related activities, such as vegetative 
manipulation, road building and maintenance, fence 
construction and water developments, will meet the 
f ol 1 owi ng requi rements . 

(1) Management actions will maintainor achieve 
adequate amounts of ground cover to support infiltration, 
maintain soil moisture storage, and stabilize soils. 

(2) Management actions will maintain or promote sub- 
urface soil conditions that support permeability rates 
appropriate to climate and soils. 

(3) Management actions will maintain, improve or 
restore riparian-wetland functions including energy 
dissipation, sediment capture, groundwater recharge, and 
streambank stability. 

(4) Management actions will maintainor achieve 
stream channel morphology (e.g. , gradient, width/depth 
ratio, channel roughness and sinuosity) and functions 
appropriate to climate and landform. 

(5) Management actions will maintain, restore or 
enhance water quality to meet or exceed State water quality 
standards and wi 1 dl i fe management objecti ves . 

(6) Management actions will maintain or achieve the 
appropriate kinds and amounts of soil organisms, plants and 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 170 



animals to support the hydro! ogic cycle, nutrient cycle, 
and energy flow. 

(7) Management actions will maintainor achieve the 
physical and biological conditions necessary to sustain 
nati ve popul ati ons and communi ti es . 

(8) Management actions will emphasize native species 
in the support of ecological function. 

(9) Management actions will incorporate the use of 
non-native species only in those situations where native 
species are not available in sufficient quantities, or are 
incapable of maintaining or achieving properly functioning 
conditions and biological health. 

(10) Management actions will promote the opportunity 
for seedling establishment when climatic conditions and 
space allow. 

(11) Management actions will restore, maintain and 
enhance habitats, including critical habitats, to assist in 
the recovery of federally listed threatened and endangered 
species. 

(12) Management actions will restore, maintain, and 
enhance habitats (including proposed critical habitats) of 
Federal Proposed, Category 1 and 2 Federal candidate, and 
other special status species to promote their conservation. 

In the event that State or regional standards and 
guidelines are not completed and approved within 18 months 
after the effective date of the rule, all grazing 
management actions must conform to the fallback standards 
provided in paragraph (1) below and the guidelines provided 
in paragraph (2) provided below. 



(1) 



The following BLM fallback standards shall apply. 



i. Upland soils shall exhibit infiltrati on and 
permeability rates that are appropriate to soil type, 
climate and landform. 

ii. Riparian-wetlandareas are in properly 
functioning condition. 

iii . Stream channel morphology (including but not 
limited to gradient, width/depth ratio, channel roughness 
and sinuosity) and functions are appropriate for landform 
and climate. 



171 



Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



iv. Water quality meets or exceeds State water 
quality standards. 

v. Healthy, productive and diverse populations of 
native species are maintained. 

vi . Habitats, including critical or proposed critical 
habitats, for Federal endangered, threatened, proposed, 
category 1 and 2 candidate, and other special status 
species will be restored, maintained and enhanced. 



(2) All grazing management wil 
guidelines listed below. 



incorporate the 



i . Management actions will maintain or achieve 
adequate amounts of ground cover to support infiltration, 
maintain soil moisture storage, and stabilize soil . 

i i . Management acti ons wi 1 1 mai ntai n or promote 
subsurface soil conditions that support permeability rates 
appropriate to climate and soils. 

iii. Management actions will ensure sufficient 
vegetation to maintain, improve, or restore riparian- 
etland functions of sediment capture, energy dissipation, 
streambank stability and groundwater recharge. 

i v . The authori zed of f i cer wi 11 rel ocate f aci 1 i ti es 
away from riparian-wetlandareas wherever they conflict 
with achieving or maintaining riparian-wetlandfunction. 

v. Management actions will maintain or achieve 
stream channel morphology (e.g. , gradient, width/depth 
ratio, channel roughness and sinuosity) and functions 
appropriate to climate and landform. 

vi . The development of springs and seeps or other 
projects affecting water and associated resources shall be 
designed to protect ecological processes and functions. 

vii. Management actions will maintainor achieve the 
appropriate kinds and amounts of soil organisms, plants and 
animals to support the hydrologic cycle, nutrient cycling, 
and energy flow. 

viii. Management actions will maintainor achieve the 
physical and biological conditions necessary to sustain 
native populations and communities. 

ix. Management actions will emphasize native species 
in the support of ecological function. 

7 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 172 



x. Management actions will incorporate the use of 
non-native species only in those situations in which native 
species are not available in sufficient quantities, or are 
incapable of maintaining or achieving properly functioning 
conditions and biological health. 

xi . Management actions will promote the opportunity 
for seedling establishment when climatic conditions and 
space allow. 

xii . To the extent that grazing management affects 
habitat, including critical habitat, of Federal threatened 
and endangered species, management actions will restore and 
enhance habitat. 

xiii. Management actions will restore and maintain 
habitat, including proposed critical habitat, of Federal 
Proposed, Category 1 and 2 Federal candidate, and other 
special status species to promote their conservation. 

xiv. Management actions will maintain, restore or 
enhance water quality to meet or exceed State water quality 
standards or wildlife management objectives. 

xv. The authorized officer will schedule periods of 
rest from disturbance or use during times of critical plant 
growth or regrowth. The timing and duration of rest 
periods shall be determined by the local authorized 
officer. 



I-! 



,- 









xvi . The authorized officer shall authorize continuous 
season-long use only when it has been demonstrated to be 
consistent with achieving healthy, properly functioning 
ecosystems . 

xvii. The authorized officer shall authorize grazing 
on designated ephemeral (annual and perennial) rangeland 
only if reliable estimates of production have been made, an 
identified level of annual growth or residue to remain on 
site at the end of the grazing season has been established, 
and adverse effects on perennial species are avoided. 

Standards that deviate to address local conditions may be 
implemented by the BLM State Director only with the 
approval of the Secretary. 

No State, regional or local standards or guidelines 
developed by the BLM State Director pursuant to this 
section would be implemented prior to their approval by 
the Secretary. 



il 



173 



Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



Upon indication of non-compliancewith the National 
requirements, standards or guidelines, assessments of 
ecological functions and process shall be conducted. If 
assessments establish that management actions are resulting 
in non-compliance, the authorized officer shall take 
appropriate action to modify the use, not later than the 
start of the next grazing year. 

All existing or on-going grazing-relatedplans and actions 
will be reviewed for compliance with National requirements, 
standards and guidelines. The review shall be accomplished 
within three years after the effective date of the rule 
through the use of assessments for functioning condition 
and biological health. Criteria to prioritize shall be 
determined by the State Directors in consultation with 
resource advisory councils, Indian tribes, other agencies 
responsible for the land and resources of the area, and the 
interested public. If the assessments establish non- 
ompliance, the authorized officer shall take appropriate 
action not later than the start of the next grazing year. 
Deviation from the three year assessment period must be 
approved by the Secretary. 

Rangeland Ecosystems 

The preferred alternative will improve the current methods 
of making rangeland decisions to better integrate all of 
the biological , cultural , social , and economic factors 
needed to maintain or restore ecosystems. Both agencies 
will implement policies to manage rangeland resources using 
an ecosystem approach . 

Management attention will shift from narrow, short-term 
resource-specificissues toward broader objectives aimed at 
restoring or maintaining desired landscape conditions, 
environmental health, social amenities, and sustained 
economic well-being, all products of properly functioning 
ecosystems. BLM will implement this approach in two ways: 
(1) through National requirements and State or regional 
standards and guidelines that will ensure that livestock 
will graze in a manner compatible with properly functioning 
ecosystems, and (2) through regulation changes that will 
reform the administration of the rangeland program to 
implement livestock management to speed restoration and 
improvement of western rangelands. 



STATUS OF THE SPECIES 

This biological opinion uses generel vegetation types and 
ecosystem types to determine general effects on listed and 
proposed species. 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 174 



This biological opinion and conference report addresses 
federally listed and proposed species that may be affected 
by the proposed Rangeland Reform action. Therefore, since 
the list of species that are potentially affected by this 
action is dynamic, it is the intent of this consultation to 
include all federally listed and proposed species. As 
species change in status, the proposed action requires that 
all required conferences/consul tationswi 11 be conducted at 
the appropriate level . It is at this level that complete 
species lists be maintained and updated as appropriate. 

Detailed status information on species that may be affected 
by Rangeland Reform is contained in proposed and final 
listing rules for each particular species. These rules are 
published in the Federal Register . A complete list of 
endangered and threatened wildlife and plants with 
reference to the aforementioned listing rules is also 
published in the Federal Register (50 CFR 17.11 and 17.12). 



ENVIRONMENTAL BASELINE 

Since an environmental baseline without livestock grazing 
does not exist, the following discussion includes current 
conditions and, where possible, projections of conditions 
such as acreage in the long term (20 years) after 
implementation of a no grazing regime. 

Vegetation 

Before European settlement, fire was the most common 
influence on the landscape in the intermountainWest 
(Gruel 1 1983), and in most of the Southwest (Wright 1990). 
But in drier parts of the West, the significance of the 
effects of fire on vegetation is difficult to separate from 
the effects of drought (Wright 1990). Woody species have 
become dominant in areas where frequent fires used to 
control them. Successional changes on some land today did 
not likely happen before the 1600s. when frequent fires 
suppressed woody vegetation (Gruel 1 1983). 

After Europeans settled the West, grazing and cultivation 
reduced fuels, and organized fire suppression began. Thus, 
the number and size of fires was drastically decreased 
(Gruel! 1983; Swetnam 1990). Fire exclusion has most 
affected ecotones, where naturally occurring fires 
previously removed woody species. 

Managing ecosystems requires knowledge of the effects of 
climate, especially drought, insects, disease, livestock 
grazing, browsing by wild ungulates, fire, elevation, 
latitude, slope, temperature inversions, and cold air 

10 



175 



Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



drainages (West and Van Pelt 1987). Knowledge of the 
frequency and consequences of natural disturbances is 
needed to understand what environmental pressures 
vegetation has adapted to, the kinds or amounts of 
vegetation a community can support, and the effects of 
treating the community. 

A land manager chooses to encourage or retard plant 
succession to achieve the vegetation community that best 
meets multiple resource management objectives. In many 
arid and semi arid areas of the West, removing livestock 
grazing pressure alone does not dramatically or rapidly 
change vegetation. Present vegetation communities are a 
product of past human use and alteration of former 
disturbance regimes, but are subject to many demands and 
expectations. 

Noxious plants are a major concern on most western 
rangelands. Most noxious plants take advantage of 
vegetation communities under stress or disturbed by fire 
or 

heavy grazing and occupy the interspaces to get a foothold 
in the plant community. Opportunistic noxious plants 
include cheatgrass, medusahead, annual mustards, Russian 
thistle, Canada thistle, Scotch thistle, musk thistle, 
yellow toadflax, and halogeton. Other noxious plants can 
become establ i shed i n pri sti ne vegetati on communi ti es and 
over time dominate the site. Noxious plants include leafy 
spurge; Russian, spotted, and diffuse knapweed; and yellow 
starthistle. Noxious plants are common and usually 
increase in all ecosystems in the West. Once established, 
noxious plants spread rapidly, becoming increasingly 
difficult to control . Economic losses as a result of 
reductions in land productivity for livestock grazing and 
reductions in wildlife habitat are significant (BLM 1991a) . 

Disci imax is the term for a stable ecological community 
that has resulted from repeated or continuous disturbance 
by humans, domestic animals, or natural events. Disclimax 
communities differ completely from communities that 
previously occupied an area and have little chance of 
reverting to the original community. Cheatgrass and 
medusahead annual rangelands fit this category, as do sites 
dominated by dense sagebrush or juniper communities that 
have displaced perennial grasses. A disclimax community 
may diminish the biological diversity of a landscape. If 
it becomes too large, its State of disclimax can 
significantly change the objectives for managing all 
resources. For communities that dve at risk of disclimax, 
BLM and Forest Service are forced to mechanically treat the 
vegetation, usually by seeding or chaining. 

11 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 176 



Upland 

Upland vegetation on most western rangelands is heavily 
affected by the amount and timing of precipitation during 
the year. Properly managed upland areas in the 12-inch or 
more precipitation zone may significantly improve within 20 
years. The higher precipitation zones improve more rapidly 
because: 

o Soils are generally more fertile, deeper, and more 
productive in higher precipitation zones; 

o Generally, the higher the precipitation the more 
production of vegetation through seedling establishment, 
sprouting, and growth; 

o Soils are usually less fertile, shallow, and less 
productive in the lower precipitation zones; 

o Seedlings do not as successfully become established in 
the lower precipitation areas as in the higher 
precipitation areas as a result of poor soils and 
competition for moisture with other plants; 

o Areas that have low precipitation and poor soils have 
less vegetation than the higher precipitation areas. To 
survive in the drier zones plants need large spaces between 
them to spread their roots and capture moisture. Areas 
with higher precipitation have enough moisture and 
productive soils to allow plants to survive close to each 
other; and 

o The ability of vegetation to respond to improved 
management is influenced significantly by soil productivity 
and the amount of moisture to induce growth. In the lower 
precipitation areas, vegetation 
struggles to produce seeds and grow. 

Upland Vegetation Conditions and Trends 

Proper functioning is a term describing the most basic 
condition needed to ensure ecological health and condition 
while allowing livestock grazing. BLM and the Forest 
Service are responsible for managing sustainable, healthy, 
productive ecosystems to meet North America's 
environmental , social , economic, aesthetic, and cultural 
needs. Sustainable ecosystems provide biodiversity, habitat 
for fish and wildlife, clean drinking water for 
communities, and healthy and productive Federal rangelands. 
The following estimates were provided in the draft 
Rangeland Reform EIS for purposes of NEPA analysis. 

12 



177 



Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



The watershed is one major landscape management unit having 
biological, social, economic, and other values. The 
measurable and manageable components of watersheds equate 
to elements of ecosystem function, including water cycle, 
energy balance, and biological diversity. Watersheds 
consist of interdependent aquatic, riparian, wetland, and 
upland components that, when functioning properly, capture, 
store, and safely release moisture; support biological 
diversity; and help meet social and economic needs. 

Uplands are commonly the largest area of the watershed. 
Hence, the condition of uplands affects the overall health 
and functioning of rangel and ecosystems. The functioning 
condition of uplands is a result of the interaction of 
earth, soils, climates, water, biological activities, fire, 
and landforms. When uplands are properly functioning, 
their vegetation and ground cover maintain soil that can 
sustain natural biotic communities. 

In uplands that are functioning but susceptible to 
degradation, livestock grazing or some other activity has 
threatened the soil's capability to sustain natural biotic 
communities. Furthermore, if uplands are not functioning 
properly, the vegetation and ground cover are not 
maintaining soil conditions that can sustain natural biotic 
communities (See Glossary in the draft Rangeland Reform 
EIS). 

Monitoring is a key element of the allotment management 
plans. Livestock and wildlife use is monitored to ensure 
proper use of key forage species. Long term trend plots 
are established based on the needs identified in the 
al 1 otment management pi an . 

Riparian, Wetland, and Aquatic Communities 

Because of their productivity and other values, riparian 
communities are critically significant and have received 
continuous intensive use since before European settlement 
(Branson 1985) . Riparian communities are the most severely 
altered ecosystems in the U.S. (Brinson et al . , 1981). It 
is estimated that 70 to 90 percent of the natural riparian 
ecosystems have been lost because of human activities, and 
up to 80 percent of the remaining areas are in 
unsatisfactory condition and dre dominated by human 
activities (Cooper rider et al., 1986). 

Riparian communities make up approximately 1 percent of 
Federal land. The most biologically diverse habitats on 
Federal land are those associated with riparian 
communities. Undisturbed riparian communities provide 
abundant food, cover, and water for wildlife, and often 

13 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 178 



contain special ecological features or a combination of 
features that are not often found in uplands. 
Consequently, riparian communities are extremely productive 
and the most valued vegetation zone (Dealy et al . , 1981; 
Thomas et al . , 1979). The importance of riparian 
ecosystems can be attributed to biological and physical 
features, including the following (Brinson et al . . 1981): 

o Predominance of woody plant communities, 
o Presence of surface water and abundant soil moisture, 
o Closeness of diverse structural features (live and 
dead vegetation, water bodies, nonvegetated 
substrates) .resultingin extensive edge and 
structurally heterogeneous wildlife habitats, and 
o Distribution in long corridors that provide protective 
pathways for wildlife migrations and movements between 
habitats. 



Healthy riparian and wetland areas provide values and 
benefits far exceeding the small percentage of Federal 
they occupy. Benefits of proper functioning riparian 
communities include the following (BLM 1991b): 

o improved water quality, 

o filtration of sediments, 

o streambank stability, 

o moderated streamflow (reduced flooding), 

o retention of water extending late season flow, 

o restoration of perennial streamflow, 

o recharge of groundwater, 

o protection from accelerated erosion, 

o maintenance of high water table, 

o increased recreational opportunities, 

o optimal habitat for fish and wildlife, 

o increased biological diversity, 

o increased forage for wildlife and livestock, and 

o enhanced aesthetics. 



land 






!: 



Animals most affected by the quality of riparian habitat 
are fish and amphibians. The quality of fish habitat is 
directly correlated to the health of the riparian community 
(American Fisheries Society 1980). Riparian vegetation is 
critical for fish because overhanging vegetation provides 
escape cover, lowers summer water temperatures through 
shading, and reduces streambank erosion, which deposits 
silt in spawning and rearing areas. Healthy riparian 
systems purify water as it moves through the vegetation by 
removing sediment. Healthy riparian systems also act as 
sponges by retaining water in streambanks and aquifers (BLM 
1989). 

14 



! 

! 



1 : : : _^ : 



179 



Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



Riparian areas are also important to other vertebrate and 
i nvertebrate popul ati ons . Ei ghty-two percent of breedi ng 
birds in northern Colorado live in riparian areas, and 51 
percent of all birds in the Southwest depend on these 
areas. Riparian areas attract a disproportionate number of 
migrating birds and may attract up to 10 times more kinds 
of birds in the spring and 14 times more birds in the fall 
than surrounding uplands. 

Many other vertebrates also depend on riparian areas (Knopf 
et al . , 1988) . Riparian and wetland areas can be essential 
to many endangered, threatened, and proposed plants and 
animals, such as whooping cranes, bald eagles, merlins, and 
soft aster. Riparian and wetland habitats may be degraded 
when livestock and wildlife graze and drink in the area. 
Often the degradation increases when water and forage are 
plentiful. 

Most riparian areas have declined in amount and quality 
since the West was settled. For example, the lower 
Colorado River historically had an estimated 5,000 acres 
of pure cottonwood stands along its banks. By the 
mid-1970s, only 500 acres remained. Riparian vegetation 
has been removed at nearly 3,000 acres per year (Ohmart and 
Anderson 1982). Riparian communities at low elevations 
have suffered the worst effects, whereas mountain riparian 
communities have hardly changed (Brinson et al . , 1981) . 
Major causes of damage include land clearing, irrigation 
and related water projects, and flooding underimpoundments. 
The overall assessment of western riparian 
communities is similar to the nationwide assessment: less 
than 20 percent of 120 million acres of potential riparian 
habitat exists (Brinson et al . , 1981). 

Within the scope of the Rangeland Reform EIS, two aspects 
of historical change in riparian vegetation are important. 

o Past land use practices in livestock grazing, fire 
management, and timber harvest have significantly 
affected the status of riparian areas. Most riparian 
areas are in poor condition because of past management 
(Cooperrider et al . , 1986). Excessive amounts of 
lant biomass have been removed from riparian areas by 
ivestock grazing and timber harvesting for the past 
100 years or more. The remaining riparian communities 
are often relict tree stands, unable to reproduce 
under existing management. 

In addition to damaging the riparian communities, past 

management has also degraded most of the associated 
upland vegetation'areas, resulting in watersheds of 
unsatisfactory condition in addition to riparian areas 

15 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 180 



in poor condition (Brinson et al . , 1981). The results 
are existing riparian areas that are only remnants of 
the potential natural plant community, with 
surrounding watersheds that are unstable and require 
significant changes in management before objectives of 
proper functioning riparian communities can be met. 

If managed properly, grazing within riparian communities 
and along streams is compatible with other resources 
(Chaney et al . , 1990; Grette 1990; May and Davis 1981; 
Platts 1990). The timing, numbers, and duration of 
livestock use are the key factors that must be set and 
monitored to assure proper livestock management in healthy 
and degraded riparian areas (Chaney et al . , 1990) . But 
livestock, especially cattle, will spend a disproportionate 
amount of time in riparian areas compared to uplands (GAO 
1988; Clary and Webster 1989; Platts 1990). 

Riparian Conditions and Trends 

Riparian habitats cover about 3.2 million acres of Federal 
land in 11 western States. Though inventories of riparian 
communities are incomplete, a large amount of riparian 
habitat that has been evaluated is known to be in a 
nonfunctioning condition. Over the past decade, land 
management agencies have been concentrating restoration 
efforts on riparian areas, which respond quickly to 
management changes. As a result, riparian areas that were 
most obvious and visible to the public were inventoried and 
have generally received the most management attention. 
Many are recovering from past land use abuses. The 
following was provided in the draft Rangeland Reform EIS 
for purposes of NEPA analysis. 

Estimated Current Condition of Riparian Areas in Acres 

Current Estimate Long Term Without 



Grazinq 




BLM 




Nonfunctioning 


205,000 


Functioning At Risk 


470,300 


Proper Functioning 


353,100 



65,600 
289,900 



672,900 



Not shown are the extensive riparian areas that have been 
degraded to the point that they are no longer recognized as 
having riparian or wetland values or potential . Other 
trends include: 

o Riparian communities at higher elevations that receive 
greater precipitation are more extensive and generally 
in better condition, and 

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Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



o Riparian resources at lower elevations, receiving less 
precipitation, and influenced extensively from 
upstream watersheds, are less extensive and generally 
more deteriorated. As the condition of riparian 
resources declines, accelerated erosion increases, 
incising stream channels. Water tables are lowered, 
resulting in historically wide floodplains being 
reduced to a narrow riparian community in the bottom 
of a wash (BLM 1993). 

GAO (1988) reported that Federal lands managed by BLM and 
the Forest Service had degraded riparian communities, 
largely due to extensive overuse by livestock. Chaney et 
al . (1990) reported significant improvements in rangeland 
condition. Improved upland conditions do not necessarily 
mean improved riparian habitat. In fact, extensive field 
observations in the late 1980 ' s suggest that riparian areas 
in most of the West were in the worst condition in history 
(Chaney et al . , 1990) . Platts (1990) stated that although 
uplands have recovered since 1935, the condition of 
riverine-ripariansystems has continued to decline. 

In the last few years, BLM and Forest Service have improved 
certain riparian communities (BLM 1992a). But most Federal 
riparian acreage is not getting this special treatment. 
Once a riparian community has been or is being degraded and 
its banks and channels are unstable, excessive use by 
livestock will not allow the area's vegetation to recover. 
Riparian areas degraded by livestock will continue to 
degrade through accelerated erosion until grazing 
management is changed. Riparian areas will not recover on 
a large scale without changes in policy, regulations, and 
management (Elmore and Beschta 1987). 

Threatened, Endangered, and Proposed Species 

This document considers the general state of threatened, 
endangered, or proposed species and proposed or designated 
critical habitat. Specific examples are given to 
demonstrate the current environmental conditions for 
threatened, endangered, or proposed species and proposed or 
designated critical habitat affected by livestock grazing. 

The effects of livestock grazing on plant and animal 
communities depends on the nature of the affected plant or 
animal, grazing intensity, the serai history of the site, 
and long-term weather patterns (Milchunaset al . , 1988). 
Current ecological conditions can be linked to many 
individual resource conditions that have caused 
endangermentto many species, groups of species, and 
sometimes everything within ecosystems. Also, management 
practices such as the use of fire, seeding of exotic plant 

17 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 182 



species, or the use of chemicals or pesticides, can harm 
threatened, endangered, or proposed species. 

Many species and their habitats have been affected by 
livestock grazing. In some cases such grazing has 
contributed to, or caused, the extinction or endangerment 
of species. For example, in a 1992 report, the General 
Accounting Office (GAO 1991) cited several studies about 
the harm livestock grazing can cause certain wildlife 
species and their habitats. Concluding that current 
grazing practices degrade lands, the report discussed the 
tendency for livestock to transmit diseases to wildlife, 
destroy habitat, and change the composition of plant 
communities beyond what is practical for wildlife adaption. 
The report outlined the effects on several animals in the 
hot deserts, including the threatened Mojave desert 
tortoise, candidate bighorn sheep, endangered Sonoran 
pronghorn, and Mearn's quail . 

Grazing directly and indirectly affects threatened, 
endangered, or proposed species. Direct grazing effects 
include livestock consumption of palatable threatened, 
endangered, or proposed plants and trampling threatened, 
endangered, or proposed species. Also, any actions related 
to grazing operations, such as road killing threatened, 
endangered, or proposed species or harming species by 
building water improvements, constitute a direct take. 
Direct effects to threatened, endangered, or proposed 
species are often readily distinguishable. The extent of 
direct takes of listed species is not well known since 
moni tori ng i s i nadequate . 

Direct takings can result from, but are not limited to: 

o periodic or long term forage and cover removal , 
o vegetati on trampl i ng exceedi ng what occurred before 

the livestock were introduced, 
o mechanical damage to soil from livestock using 

riparian areas or trailing along fencelines, 
o browsing or grazing of threatened, endangered, or 

proposed plants, 
o collapse of animal burrows, and 
o trampling eggs of threatened, endangered, or proposed 

fish. 

Livestock grazing may also indirectly affect threatened, 
endangered, or proposed species. Ecological decline from 
overgrazing is a gradual, long-term process. It is often 
hard to discern over time without exact measurement and 
tracking. Examples of indirect effects include altering 

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Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



plant communities by removing palatable species, 
introducing exotic plants, and losing aquatic habitats 
that threatened, endangered, or proposed species depend on. 
Changes in plant communities as caused by grazing are 
serious harmful effects to the overall ecosystem, on which 
threatened, endangered, or proposed species depend. 
Overgrazing slowly causes a decline in the diversity and 
abundance of native plants. Shifts in the abundance of 
plant communities favor or harm particular species. 

Indirect taking related to grazing includes, but is not 
limited to, the following: 

o changes in stream channel characteristics and water 
quality as a result of using riparian areas, 
o wholesale changes in plant community composition or 
structure resulting from the introduction of 

livestock, 
o diminution of plant vigor at high utilization levels, 
o spread of such exotic plants as cheatgrass, medusahead 

wildrye, spotted and other knapweeds, 
o altered precipitation infiltration and 

evapotranspirationregimes due to soil compaction 

exposure, and 
o accelerated soil erosion as a result of compaction, 

vegetation loss, or change in plant community 

composition. 

A specific example of an indirect effect on threatened, 
endangered, or proposed species associated with livestock 
grazing is the increase of cowbird populations. Cowbirds 
place their eggs in the nests of other birds and let them 
rai se thei r orphaned young . Unnatural ly i ncreased numbers 
of cowbirds can reduce the nesting success of threatened, 
endangered, or proposed bird species. These effects to 
ecosystems have caused many species to decline, which in 
some cases have been so severe that species have become 
endangered or threatened. 

According to Nehl sen et al . (1991), Pacific salmon stocks 
are at risk in California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. 
Map 3-5 in the draft Rangeland Reform EIS shows the 
distribution of listed and at-risk salmon stocks in the 
Pacific Northwest. Much of the remaining suitable spawning 
habitat is on Federal lands. About 134 of the stocks at 
risk are found in National Forests, and 109 on BLM- 
dministered lands; both sets of land have degraded spawning 
and rearing habitats. About 77 percent of the 
stocks near public rangelands are at risk because of poor 
habitat conditions, at least in part, due to livestock 
grazing. 

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Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 184 



Degraded habitats and direct loss in the desert Southwest, 
as caused by livestock grazing, contribute to decreasing 
populations of desert tortoises, BLM is studying the 
effects livestock grazing has on desert tortoises, which 
could affect grazing practices on more than 6.5 million 
acres of desert tortoise habitats. Introduced exotic 
plants and fire regimes have also degraded or eliminated 
habitats. 

The increase in wildlife and plants classified as 
endangered, threatened, or proposed is influencing National 
direction toward ecosystem management and Rangeland Reform. 
More than 200 threatened, endangered, or proposed plants 
and animals are known or suspected to grow on BLM or Forest 
Service administered lands, including 30 percent of all 
federally listed threatened and endangered plants. 
However, threatened, endangered, or proposed species are 
not the only species that require special management. For 
example, more than 50 million acres of BLM-administered 
lands in the lower 48 States have yet to be inventoried for 
threatened, endangered, or proposed plants (BLM 1992). 

Some residual undesirable processes will likely remain for 
decades and even longer after livestock management is 
changed. Residual processes include long-term 
desertifi cation resulting from the continued conversion, 
by wildfires, of shrubsteppe (sagebrush, desert shrub, and 
other vulnerable rangelands) to annual grasslands, fueled 
by cheatgrass and medusahead wildrye. By further reducing 
the total amount of shrubsteppe (or other) remaining 
habitat, this process would result in damage that in many 
cases could outweigh improvements in ecological condition. 
BLM and the Forest Service plan to slow or stop these 
processes while also implementing plans to protect and 
restore rangelands. 



EFFECTS OF THE ACTION 

Effects described below assume full implementation of Range 
Reform '94 BLM National standards and guidelines, BLM 
proposed rules, and Forest Service proposed rules as 
described in the draft Rangeland Reform EIS. 

Rangeland Reform '94 sets forth policy and regulations on a 
programmatic level . Later, BLM regional and State level of 
standard and guideline development will undergo NEPA 
evaluation with public involvement and section 7 (ESA) 
compliance procedures. Furthermore, in the event at BLM 
regional or State level standards and guidelines are not 
developed within 18 months, fallback standards and 
guidelines contained in Rangeland Reform '94 will be 

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Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



implemented subject to compliance with NEPA and ESA. 

Vegetation 

Under the proposed action, 10,463,106 Animal Unit Months 
(AUMs) of forage will be available to livestock on public 
lands managed by BLM. Livestock using this forage will be 
meeting BLM National minimum standards and guidelines for 
threatened, endangered, and proposed species. This 
compares to AUMs available under no grazing. 

Upland 

In the short term, BLM upland acres in proper functioning 
condition would slightly increase, upland acres functioning 
but susceptible to degradation would slightly decrease, and 
upland acres in nonfunctioning condition would decrease by 
about 5 percent from the present. 

In the long term, 15 million acres of BLM public uplands 
would remain in nonfunctioning condition, 6 million would 
be functioning at risk, and 138 million acres would be 
properly functioning. 

Favorable habitat changes in uplands would be slower in the 
southwest deserts than described above due to low rainfall 
and unfavorable soil character! sties in many areas such as 
much of the desert shrub vegetation type. Changes in 
aval lability of the existing vegetation resources (such as 
forage and herbaceous plant cover) would become evident, 
however, by the short-term. 

BLM National fallback standards i, v, and vi and guidelines 
xii , xiii , and xvii would provide additional ephemeral 
forage over the existing situation to species such as the 
desert tortoise for its growth, maintenance, and 
reproducti ve processes . 

Ri pari an/Wetl and/Aouati c 

In the long term, implementing National requi rements and 
standards and guidelines under the proposed action would 
lead to improvements in riparian conditions that support 
threatened, endangered, or proposed species, maintain water 
quality, contribute to watershed function, and improve an 
area's ecological conditions. The height, width, and amount 
of vegetation would become more diverse. The canopy would 
become more closed. Streambanks would become more stable 
and native riparian vegetation communities would become 
reestabl i shed , benef i tti ng most ri pari an/wetl and and 
aquatic threatened, endangered, and proposed species. 

21 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 186 



Improved management would result in an overall positive 
trend and steady improvement in the functioning condition 
of roughly 20 percent of riparian areas. Improvements 
would result from implementing National requi rements and 
State or regional standards and guidelines or fallback 
standards and guidelines and ecosystem management, 
modifying livestock management practices, and allowing more 
public involvement in rangel and management. 

In the long term, 164,000 acres of BLM public riparian 
lands would remain in nonfunctioning condition, 417,300 
would be functioning at risk, and 447,100 acres would be 
properly functioning. 

Improvement would not be dramatic in the short term, but 
the proposed action would result in significant long-term 
improvements and benefits to many other resources 
associated with high-quality riparian areas. Grazing 
changes would result in large-scale, long-term improvement 
in riparian resources and aquatic habitat. Riparian or 
aquatic-dependentthreatened, endangered, and proposed 
species would respond positively. 

Residual standing plant material in mountain meadows would 
rapidly increase, especially near perennial streams, seeps, 
and where the water table is within 3 feet of the soil 
surface. Increased plant material would mainly consist of 
grasses and sedges with some forbs. Fine organic litter on 
the soil between standing vegetation would also increase as 
would willow seedling establishment within the short term 
of implementation. In the long term, the density of 
willows would substantially increase, as would the vertical 
and horizontal closure of willow crowns, especially within 
about 4 feet of the ground. 

Threatened, endangered, or proposed anadromous or coldwater 
fish: As livestock are removed, or their season of grazing 
use is changed to favor critical plant growth or regrowth, 
and minimize the possibility of streambank damage, riparian 
vegetation would quickly improve in the short term, leading 
to the steady long-term improvement of riparian conditions 
and fish habitats. This improvement would result from 
increased overhanging banks and stream cover, lowered water 
temperatures, increased instream structural diversity, 
improved water quality, reduced levels of sediment in the 
substrate, increased macroinvertebrateproducti on, and 
moderated streamflows. 

Effects of the BLM National fallback standards and 
guidelines would lead to moderate long-term trend toward 
restoration of some special status species and toward 
recovery of several listed species, with vegetation change, 

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Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



additional cover, and/or additional forage availability. 
For threatened, endangered, and proposed plants, there 
would be less direct damage from trampling and a likely 
increase in recruitment. The trend would mirror predicted 
vegetation changes with an additional increase in cover and 
forage availability or access, The plant availability and 
access changes are related to the lesser use anticipated of 
herbaceous plant species. Present and future range! and 
developments such as water and handling facilities would 
continue to exhibit trailing and compaction in an irregular 
zone around such facilities with rills and gullies present 
in some situations, except in riparian/wetlandareas. 

BLM Standards and Guidelines 

The standards and guidelines on BLM-administered lands 
would decrease direct effects such as trampling and 
periodic cover and forage loss (access or availability). 
Standards and guidelines would result in trends toward 
plant community characteristics and ecosystem processes 
favorable to natural communities including those of many 
threatened, endangered, and proposed species as discussed 
below. National fallback standard vi and guidelines xii 
and xiii specify managing rangelands to restore, maintain, 
and enhance threatened and endangered species and other 
special status species, respectively. 

(a) Uplands. BLM National fallback standards i , v, and vi 
and guidelines i , ii, vii, viii, ix, xi , xii, xiii, xv, 
xvi , and xvii would directly apply to uplands. Management 
practices would be implemented to assist recovery and 
prevent need for such listings. Grazing schedules would 
be implemented to include periods of rest for important 
times of plant growth. Grazing use would be adjusted in 
the short term when watershed functional requirements are 
not being met because of overuse. Continuous season-long 
grazing would only be used when consistent with meeting 
resource objectives. Terms and conditions of each permit 
would include seasons of use, numbers and kinds of 
livestock, deferment or rest strategies. Grazing would be 
authorized on ephemeral (including perennial -ephemeral ) 
lands only if reliable estimates of production are made, 
and identified level of annual growth is established to 
remain onsite at the end of the season, and adverse effects 
on perennial species is avoided. 

Such actions would result in vegetation characteristics 
that trend toward Potential Natura' Plant Communities, 
which are favored by most upland-dependent threatened, 
endangered, or proposed species. The rate of change would 
likely be slow to moderate-as vegetation change is slower 
in most low-rainfall uplands than those with greater 

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Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 188 



rainfall or riparian areas. These changes would mirror 
the change rates predicted in the upland vegetation 
section. With the vegetation change and increased forage 
availability or access and cover of herbaceous perennials, 
restoration and recovery of upland species would occur for 
those dependent on such habitat characteristics. Diversity 
of vegetation composition would increase, and diversity of 
structure of woody vegetation types would increase. 

For example, the Western sage grouse, in the Sagebrush 
vegetation type, may increase with expected patchy 
increases in herbaceous perennials and a more diverse plant 
community leading to greater resilience to natural 
perturbations. The Sonoran Pronghorn in the desert shrub 
vegetation type could experience additional forage and 
herbaceous cover availability, though total upland 
vegetation cover and composition would change little. 
Such changes in availability may lead to increased use of 
public land by this species. In another example, the Santa 
Cruz beehive cactus and Pima pineapple cactus, occurring in 
the Southwestern Shrubsteppe, could experience less 
inadvertent damage due to trampling and more favorable 
seedbed microhabitat characteristics with increased 
herbaceous and litter cover. In the Plains grassland, the 
swift fox feeds primarily on ground squirrels which benefit 
from greater cover for forage and protection from avian 
predators. Further, the Apache northern goshawk and Mexican 
spotted owl could experience some increased nongame prey 
availability in the Coniferous/deciduousforest type where 
it occurs on public land. Continuation of some livestock 
grazing in these cases could still include some inadvertent 
effects to threatened, endangered or proposed species when 
changes under the proposed action are fully implemented; an 
increase over no grazing. 

Conversely, the long-billed curlew could be adversely 
affected by too much herbaceous ground cover in the 
Sagebrush vegetation type for nesting purposes because it 
prefers flatter, more open areas with shorter ground cover. 
Patchinessof habitat due to soil type and other 
disturbances could provide some open spaces in many areas, 
but in some cases grazing treatments could be used as a 
tool to create sufficient nesting habitat. The ferruginous 
hawk is another example of a species that may not benefit 
from extensive increases in herbaceous cover in the 
Sagebrush or Plains Grassland. This species often feeds 
on ground squirrels or rabbits. More cover would conceal 
ferruginous hawk prey to some degree. Grazing management 
that provides patchiness would be more beneficial in this 
case. In another case, the Mountain Plover nests in open 
areas with short herbaceous cover. Grazing treatments may 
be necessary to ensure that sufficient amounts of this 

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Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



habitat occur in certain areas. The historical 
relationshipof bison, prairie dogs, and black-footed 
ferrets could be enhanced where cattle take the place of 
missing bison. Bison, heavily grazing in patches, produce 
some open areas suitable to prairie dogs. Networks of 
large, dense prairie dog colonies, are most suitable to 
black-footed ferrets. Continuation of livestock grazing in 
these cases would benefit threatened, endangered or 
proposed species more than no grazing. 

(b) Riparian/Wetlands. BLM National fallback standards 
ii, iii, iv, v, and vi and guidelines iii , iv, v, vi , vii, 
viii, ix, xi , xii, xiii, xiv, xv, and xvi would directly 
apply to riparian/wetlands. In addition to the standards 
mentioned above, development of springs and seeps or other 
projects affecting water and associated resources would be 
designed to maintain or enhance those sites' ecological 
values. Ri pari an/wetlandmanagement objectives would be 
met where livestock management facilities are located in 
these habitats or actions such as relocation or removal of 
such f aci lities would be accompl i shed . Uti 1 i zati on or 
residual vegetation targets would be applied to: 1) 
maintain or improve herbaceous and woody species (where 
potential exists) to healthy and vigorous condition and 
attainment of different size-age classes; and 2) leave 
sufficient plant biomass and woody debris for adequate 
sediment filtering and dissipation of stream energy for 
bank protection. 

Actions under these standards would lead to vegetation 
characteristics trending toward Potential Natural Plant 
Communities and physical characteristics trend toward 
Proper Functioning Condition. The rate of change would 
likely be moderate to high over the long term 
(approximately 20 percent over the existing situation, 
following predictions for riparian vegetation) as changes 
are implemented, since such well -watered habitats can 
respond relatively quickly to management change. These 
changes would promote restoration and recovery of riparian- 
ependent species in the long-term for those species 
dependent upon well -developed woody plant structure. For 
example, the southwestern willow flycatcher, common black- 
awk, yellow-billed cuckoo, bald eagle, and in some cases, 
Yuma clapper rail , could follow trends discussed above as 
more layers of woody riparian vegetation increase or 
herbaceous species increase in cover. These changes would 
slowly approach conditions of no grazing over a period of 
20 or more years. 

Those species more dependent upon lower-level vegetation 
would begin trends mentioned above in the short-term. 

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Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 190 



Species such as Lemon lily and Blumer's dock would fit the 
latter situation. 

(c) Aquatic. BLM National fallback standards ii , 111. iv, 
and vi and gui del i nes i i i , i v , v , vi , vi i i , xi i , xii 1 , xi v , 
xv, and xvi would most directly apply to aquatic habitats 
of threatened, endangered, and proposed species. In 
addition to the discussions above, standard iv and 
guideline xiv would call for implementing grazing 
practices, such as Best Management Practices, in permit 
terms and conditions that would help maintain or restore 
water quality. 

These changes would result in vegetation trends and 
physico-chemical characteristics trending toward State 
water quality standards promoting restoration and recovery 
of most aquatic threatened, endangered, or proposed species 
and their critical or proposed critical habitat. Change 
rates would follow those predicted for the associated 
riparian/wetlandcommunities over the long term. 

For example, Lahontan cutthroat trout (and other cutthroat 
trout subspecies), woundfin, Gila trout, Colorado roundtail 
chub, Gila topminnow, Pecos gambusia, Hygrotus narrow- 
ooted diving beetles, and others may increase due to 
increased mi crohabi tat diversity and emergent herbaceous 
vegetation providing increased cover and forage outfall of 
invertebrates from increased vegetation layers. Big river 
fishes such as razorback suckers and bonytail chubs would 
experience little effect, as many other factors other than 
vegetation change mask or overwhelm any response to that of 
grazing management. 

In anadromous fish habitats, winter-only grazing or various 
forms of full -season rest, moving range improvements, and 
other management changes which allow for vigorous growth 
and reproduction of native woody and herbaceous riparian 
species could rehabilitate degraded streams, providing 
structure, shading, streamflow stability, and less 
siltation to the benefit of listed or proposed species and 
their critical habitats. 

Additionally, in ponds and other impoundments, increased 
upland cover and riparian vegetation would lead to less 
si 1 tati on of these waters . Thi s effect woul d 1 ead to 
longer effective life of each water, extending productivity 
over time for prey items used by bald eagles, ospreys, and 
some other threatened, endangered, or proposed species. At 
springs and seeps, special status species like many 
springsnai Is would increase in numbers following associated 
riparian growth, decreased siltation, and bankside 
stabilization. 

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Admi ni strati ve Components 

Grazing Fee: 

BLM and the Forest Service would incorporate the AUM fee 
for forage discussed under the preferred alternative. 
Because the demand for forage would not change, no effect 
to threatened, endangered, or proposed species, critical or 
proposed critical habitat is expected. 

Leasing: 

BLM would levy a surcharge on management leases. This 

activity would cause no effect to threatened, endangered, 

and proposed species or critical or proposed critical 

habitat. 

Foreign Corporations: 

Forest Service policy would be changed to match that of 

BLM. There would be no effect to threatened, endangered, 

and proposed species or critical or proposed critical 

habitat. 

Disqualification: 

Applicants would be required to have a satisfactory 
performance record under Forest Service and BLM permits. 
No effect is expected to threatened, endangered, or 
proposed species or critical or proposed critical habitat. 

Prohibited Acts: 

Permittees would be subject to add" tional compliance with 
various laws and prohibited acts bearing on continued use 
of permits. No effect is expected to threatened, 

endangered, or proposed species or critical or proposed 
critical habitat. 

Grant Policy: 

BLM and the Forest Service would give first consideration 
to new or unallocated forage to operators that have proven 
their ability to improve or maintain rangel and ecosystems. 
No effect on threatened, endangered, or proposed species or 
critical or proposed critical habitat is expected. 

Permit Tenure: 

BLM and the Forest Service would issue ten-year permits to 
permittees with records of compliance. No effect is 
expected to threatened, endangered, and proposed species or 
critical or proposed critical habitat. 

Unauthorized Use: 

Incidental, unintentional , and nondamaging unauthorized use 
would be settled in a nonmonetary fashion by both BLM and 
the Forest Service. The Forest Service would adopt BLM's 
present graduated fees for unauthorized use. This change 

27 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 192 



would cause no effect to threatened, endangered, and 
proposed species or critical or proposed critical habitat. 

Nonuse: 

BLM would adopt regulations to allow conservation use for 
up to 10 years in conformance with land use plans. Nonuse 
requested solely for the convenience or economic benefit of 
a permittee could be approved for up to 3 years. This 
proposal would make both agencies more consistent. No 
effect is expected to threatened, endangered, or proposed 
species or critical or proposed critical habitat. 

Suspended Use: 

BLM would continue the provision for Suspended Use. No 
effect would occur to threatened, endangered, and proposed 
species or critical or proposed critical habitat. 

Water Rights: 

BLM would apply for water rights on new livestock water 
developments, possibly including joint filing. The Forest 
Service already applies for all livestock water rights on 
National Forests pursuant to State laws. No effect is 
expected to threatened, endangered, and proposed species or 
critical or proposed critical habitat. 

Range Improvement Ownership: 

New BLM permanent rangeland developments would be owned by 
the Federal government. The Forest Service owns .all 
permanent range improvements on National Forests. No 
effect is expected to threatened, endangered, or proposed 
species or critical or proposed critical habitat. 

Range Betterment Fund Distribution: 
BLM State Directors would have the flexibility to 
distribute the Secretary of the Interior's half of Range 
Betterment Funds within their States. Forest Service 
Regional Foresters already have authority to distribute 
half of their receipts returned to the Forest Service 
within their Regions. BLM flexibility would allow for 
sending funds to places most in need of improvement. 
Because of this and additional funds from grazing receipts, 
trends toward increases in habitat characteristics in 
uplands and riparian/wetlandswould occur where conflicts 
require on-the-ground treatments to alleviate threatened, 
endangered, and proposed species effects or promote 
restoration and recovery. Such results would respond to 
changes prescribed through State or regional standards and 
guidelines, however. No effect is expected to threatened, 
endangered, or proposed species or critical or proposed 
critical habitat. 

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Range Betterment Fund Use: 

BLM and the Forest Service would use Range Betterment Funds 
to improve rangeland health rather than to benefit 
livestock grazing. Use would be for project planning, 
environmental inspections, and monitoring. No effect is 
expected to threatened, endangered, and proposed species or 
critical or proposed critical habitat. 

Interested Publics: 

BLM would expand opportunities for local level public 
i nvol vement by devel opi ng resource advi sory counci Is. No 
effect is expected to threatened, endangered, or proposed 
species or critical or proposed critical habitat. 

Appeals: 

BLM regulations would be changed to allow decisions to be 
effective without delay, even while the decision is under 
appeal, unless a stay is granted. Grazing decisions 
benefiting threatened, endangered, and proposed species 
could begin in the short term rather than only long term 
because of stays pending appeals. Because decisions would 
act to implement BLM standards and guidelines, no effect is 
expected from this component alone to threatened, 
endangered, or proposed species or critical or proposed 
critical habitat. 

Grazing Advisory Boards: 

BLM Grazing Advisory Boards would be eliminated and 
replaced with resource advisory councils. The Forest 
Service would continue to not have Grazing Advisory Boards. 
No effect is expected to threatened, endangered, or 
proposed species or critical or proposed critical habitat. 

Service Charge/TransactionFee: 

The Forest Service would establish the authority to collect 
such fees as BLM now does. No effect would occur to 
threatened, endangered, and proposed species or critical 
or proposed critical habitat. 

Range Improvement Ownership: 

Improvements needed for maintenance and restoration and 
recovery of threatened, endangered, and proposed species or 
critical or proposed critical habitat would be maintained. 

Range Betterment Fund Use: 

Localized areas depended upon by many species that continue 
trends away from ecosystem functionality despite lack of 
grazing would continue these trends, in some cases. 



Rangeland Ecosystems: 



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Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 194 



BLM would continue implementing ecosystem management with 
the addition of the standards and guidelines. The Forest 
Service would add regulation language including the 
authority for managing rangelands based on landscape 
analysis of rangel and ecosystems. Ecosystems would trend 
toward sustainabilityof their natural processes over the 
long term, promoting an increased trend toward restoration 
and recovery of threatened, endangered, and proposed 
species at a slow to moderate rate following vegetation 
changes in upland and riparian areas. 

The Forest Service proposed action for inclusion of rules 
to manage rangelands within an ecosystem management 
framework wi 1 1 increase the agency's ability to assess and 
implement threatened or endangered species recovery and 
conservation actions through landscape analysis and 
specific rangel and management. This action will benefit 
listed species in general and is not likely to adversely 
affect any listed or proposed species, or their critical or 
proposed critical habitat. 

Comparison With No Grazing 

Threatened, Endangered, and Proposed Species: 
Vegetation that developed under large ungulate grazing, 
such as in the Plains and Mountain/Plateaugrasslands may 
undergo a stagnation of natural ecosystem processes with a 
significant lessening of large ungulate grazing in the very 
long term. In such cases, some form of grazing use by a 
large ungulate may be a tool required to maintain these 
processes. Fewer threatened, endangered, and proposed 
species would likely have been federally listed through the 
long term due to the impact of livestock grazing, which is 
much less than the present trend. All Forest Service 
riparian would be meeting objectives and two-thirds of BLM 
riparian would be properly functioning. 

The following administrative components of Range Reform '94 
would not apply under No Grazing: Grazing Fee, BLM 
Standards and Guidelines, Leasing, Foreign Corporations, 
Disqualification, Prohibited Acts, Grant Policy, Permit 
Tenure, Unauthorized Use, Nonuse. Suspended Use, Permit 
Size, Water Rights, Range Betterment Fund Distribution, 
Interested Publics, Appeals, Grazing Advisory Boards, and 
Service Charge/TransactionFee. 

Rangel and Ecosystems: 

No grazing would halt direct effects such as trampling and 
grazing except by wildlife and wild horses and burros. It 
would result in an accelerated move toward plant community 
character!' sties and ecosystem processes preferred by 
riparian and aquatic species at a high rate. Change toward 

30 



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Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



habitat characteristics preferred by upland species would 
occur at a moderate rate. Species requiring low stubble 
heights of herbaceous plants would lose an undetermined 
quantity of habitat. 



CUMULATIVE EFFECTS 

Cumulative effects include the effects of future State, 
local or private actions that are reasonably certain to 
occur in the action area considered in this biological 
opinion. Future Federal actions that are unrelated to the 
preferred alternative are not considered in this section 
because they require separate consultation pursuant to 
section 7 of ESA. 

A myriad of activities occur on the non-federal lands, many 
of which are intermingled in complex ways with the Federal 
lands. Land uses include intense agriculture such as 
farming, dispersed agriculture such as ranching, industry, 
commercial development, residences, transportation and 
utility corridors, and urbanization. Federal involvement 
with projects in the seventeen contiguous western States is 
nearly as diverse as described above for non-federal 
activities. Land ownership patterns and projects are so 
interwoven on this scale that many affect the lands 
administered by the Forest Service and BLM. Analysis of 
the cumulative effects with Rangeland Reform on BLM and 
Forest Service lands is impractical at this scale, except 
to say that continued urban expansion, utility, and 
transportation networks will all follow present growth 
trends for the foreseeable future. This growth will 
transform the rural west and change demands upon resources 
for consumptive and non-consumptive resource uses. This 
change will have deleterious effects on many western 
threatened and endangered species as non-federal wildlands 
are converted to incompatible uses. Federal lands, 
including those covered in this analysis will become more 
important to the conservation of threatened and endangered 
species. 



CONCLUSION 

After reviewing the Rangeland Reform 1994 preferred 
alternative, the environmental baseline for the action 
area, and the cumulative effects, it is the Services' 
biological opinion that the Rangeland Reform administrative 
initiative, as proposed, is not likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of listed or proposed species, and is 
not likely to result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of designated or proposed critical habitat. 

31 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 196 



INCIDENTAL TAKE STATEMENT 



Land use planning by the action agencies is likely to 
adversely affect listed and proposed species. However, 
the proposed action, by itself, is one of many steps in the 
land use planning process by the action agencies. The 
likelihood of incidental take, and the identification of 
reasonable and prudent measures and terms and conditions to 
minimize such take, are addressed at many of these planning 
and implementation levels. These levels could include, but 
are not limited to, development and implementation of 
standards and guidelines, adoption and amendment of land 
use plans and land and resource management plans, and 
approval and carrying out of site specific projects. Any 
incidental take and measures to reduce such take cannot be 
effectively identified at the level of Rangel and Reform 
1994 because of its generic nature and its national scope: 
the standards and guidelines are broad, general principles 
that do not identify specific or quantitative criteria, and 
whose effect cannot be measured upon particular regions or 
land units at this level. Rather, incidental take and 
reasonable and prudent measures may be identified 
adequately through subsequent actions subject to section 7 
consultations. 



CONSERVATION RECOMMENDATIONS 

Section 7(a)(1) of ESA directs Federal agencies to utilize 
their authorities to further the purposes of ESA by 
carrying out conservation programs for the benefit of 
endangered and threatened species. Conservation 
recommendations are discretionary agency activities to 
minimize or avoid adverse effects of a proposed action on 
listed species or critical habitat, to help implement 
recovery plans, or to develop information. 

The Services recommend that grazing regimes should be 
implemented that are known to not adversely affect listed 
and proposed species. This concept of suitability of 
grazing practice is outlined in the Environmental 
Enhancement alternative of the draft Rangel and Reform 
Environmental Impact Statement. 

In order for the Services to be kept informed of actions 
minimizing or avoiding adverse effects or benefitting 
listed species or their habitats, the Services request 
notification of the implementation of any conservation 
recommendations. 

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Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



REINITIATION OF CONSULTATION 

This concludes formal consultation and conference on the 
actions outlined in BLM's request. As provided in 50 CFR 
§402.16, reinitiation of formal consultation is required 
where discretionary Federal agency involvement or control 
over the action has been maintained (or is authorized by 
law) and if: (1) new information reveals effects of the 
agency action that may affect listed species or critical 
habitat in a manner or to an extent not considered in this 
opinion; (2) the agency action is subsequently modified in 
a manner that causes an effect to listed species or 
critical habitat that was not considered in this opinion; 
(3) if a new species is listed or critical habitat 
designated, other than those addressed in this 
opinion/conference report, that may be affected by the 
identified action; or (4) if actions are initiated under 
Range! and Reform without completion of section 7 
consultation/conference, this consultation must be 
reinitiated immediately. In instances where an incidental 
take occurs, any operations causing such take must cease 
pending reinitiation. 

This biological opinion and conference report framework 
does not absolve the action agency from following statutory 
and regulatory conference/consul tationprocedures at any 
implementation levels that may affect proposed or listed 
species or their proposed or designated critical habitats. 



LITERATURE CITED 

American Fisheries Society. 1980. Position Paper on 
Management and Protection of Western Riparian Stream 
Ecosystems. Bethesda: MD: American Fisheries Soci-ety. 



Branson, Farrel . A. 
Rangelands. Denver; 



1985. Vegetation Changes on Western 
Society for Range Management. 



Brinson, M.M. , B.L. Swift, R.C. Plantico, and J.S. Barclay. 
1981. Riparian Ecosystems: Their Ecology and Status. 
Biological Services Publication FWS/OBS-81/17. Washington, 
D.C.: USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Chaney, Ed, Wayne Elmore, and William S. Platts. 1990. 
Livestock Grazing on Western Riparian Areas . Washington, 
D.C.; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Clary, Warren. P., and Bert F. Webster. 1989. Managing 
Grazing of Riparian Areas in the Intermountain Region. 
General Technical Report INT-263. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest 
Service, Intermountain Research Station. 

33 



Rangeland Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 198 



Cooperrider, A.Y. , R.J Boyd, and Hans.R. Stuart, eds. 1986. 
Inventory and Monitoring of Wildlife Habitat. Washington, 
D . C . : Government Pri nti ng Of f i ce . 

Dealy, J.E., D.A. Leckenby, and D.M. Cancannon. 1981. 
Wildlife Habitats in Managed Range! ands-The Great Basin of 
Southeastern Oregon. In Plant Communities and Their 
Importance to Wildlife. General Technical Report PNW-120. 
Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest 
and Range Experiment Station. 

Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 1989. 
Fisheries Habitat Management on Public Lands - A Strategy 
for the Future. Washington, D.C. : USDI Bureau of Land 
Management. 

Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 1991a. 
Final Environmental Impact Statement: Vegetation Treatment 
on BLM Lands in Thirteen Western States . Casper, WY: USDI 
Bureau of Land Management. 

Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 1991b. 
Riparian-Wetlandlnitiative for the 1990' s. Washington, 
D.C. : USDI Bureau of Land Management. 

Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 1992a. 
Ri pari an-Uetl and Initiative for the 1990' s. Washington, 
D.C. : USDI Bureau of Land Management. 

Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Mangement. 1992b. 
Rare Plants and Natural Plant Communities: A Strategy for 
the Future. Washington, D.C. : USDI Bureau of Land 
Management. 

Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 1993. 
Riparian Area Management: Process for Assessing Proper 
Functioning Condition. Technical Reference 1737-9. Denver: 
USDI Bureau of Land Management, Service Center. 

Elmore, Wayne, and R. Beschta. 1987. "Riparian Areas: 
Perceptions in Management." Rangelands 9(6):260-265. 

General Accounting Office. 1988. Some Riparian Areas 
Restored but Widespread Improvement Wi 1 1 Be Slow. RCED-88- 
05. Washington, D.C: General Accounting Office. 

General Accounting Office. 1991. BLM's Hot Desert Grazing 
Program Merits Reconsideration. RCED-92-12. Washington, 
D.C: General Accounting Office. 

34 



199 



Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



Grette, Tom. 1990. "Successful Range Management in the McCoy 
Gulch Riparian Demonstration Area." Rangelands 12(6) :305-07. 

Gruel 1, G.E. 1983. Fire and Vegetative Trends in the 
Northern Rockies: Interpretations from 1871-1982 
Photographs. General Technical Report INT-158. Ogden, UT: 
USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 

Knopf, F.L., R.R. Johnson, T. Rich, F.B. Samson, and R.C. 
Szaro. 1988. "Conservation of Riparian Ecosystems in the 
United States." Mil son Bulletin 100(2) :272-284. 

May, B.E., and B. Davis. 1981. "Practices for Livestock 
Grazing and Aquatic Habitat Protection on Western 
Rangelands." In Symposium: Wildlife-livestock 
Relationships, edited by J.M. Peek and P.D. Dalke, 23-50. 
Moscow, ID: University of Idaho. 

Milchunas, D.G. , O.E. Sala, and W.K. Lawenroth. 1988. "A 
Generalized Model of the Effects of Grazing by Large 
Herbivores on Grassland Community. " Ameri can Naturalist 
132:87-106. 

Nehlsen.W., J.E. Williams, and J. A. Lichatowich. 1991. 
"Pacific Salmon at the Crossroads: Stocks at Risk from 
California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington." Fisheries 
16(2):4-21. 

Ohmart, R.D., and B.W. Anderson. 1932. "North American 
Desert Riparian Ecosystems." In Reference Handbook on the 
Deserts of North America, edited by Gordon L. Bender. 
Westport, CN: Greenwood Press. 

Platts, William. S. 1990. Managing Fisheries and Wildlife 
on Rangelands Grazed by Livestock - A Guidance and 
Reference Document for Biologists. Reno: Nevada State 
Wildlife Department. 

Swetnam. T. 1990. "Fire history and Climate in the Southwest 
United States. " In Proceedings of the Symposium: Effects of 
Fire Management of Southwestern Natural Resources 6-17 
General Technical Report RM-191. Fort Collins, CO: USDA 
Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment 
Station. 

Thomas, J.W.. C. Maser, and J.E. Rodiek. 1979. Wildlife 
Management in Managed Rangelands --The Great Basin of 
Southeastern Oregon- -RiparianZones. General Technical 
Report PNW-80. Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service, Pacific 
Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 

West, Neil E., and N. Van Pelt. 1987. "Successional Patterns 
in Pi nyon-Juni per Woodlands." In Proceedings Pinyon-Juniper 

35 



Rangdand Reform '94 - Final Environmental Impact Statement 200 



Conference 
Ogden, UT: 
Station. 



. 43-52. General Technical Report INT-215. 
USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research 



Wright. Henry A. 1990. "Role of Fire in the Management of 
Southwestern Ecosystems . " In Proceedings of the Symposium: 
Effects of Fire Mandgement of Southwestern Natural 
Resources. General Technical Report RM-191. Ft. Collins, 
CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range 
Experiment Station. 



36 



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Appendix T: Biological Opinion and Conference Report 



"fr U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1994 - 673-067 / 23000 REGION NO. 



RANGELAND REFORM 94 

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BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

P.O. BOX 66300 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20035-6300 



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